It may get even harder to sell door-to-door in Toms River. The township council introduced changes to its peddling and soliciting ordinance, which also regulates canvassing and real estate soliciting.
The existing ordinance tightened its regulations after residents in the North Dover neighborhoods bordering Lakewood saw an influx of real estate soliciting, with reports of realtors approaching homeowners repeatedly, aggressively trying to get them to sell their homes. Residents complained of interruptions that were excessive, which lead the township to create two zones, bordering Lakewood, that have a five-year moratorium on canvassing.
In spite of the new rules, passed more than a year ago, the council is again looking at its canvassing ordinance after hearing complaints persist about such behavior.
The ordinance spelled out how a canvasser must register with the township and name the streets they seek to canvass. Toms River has no-knock rules in place, which allow a resident to be on a list of places where solicitation is prohibited, and would fine the solicitors who disobey the regulations.
But even after passing what officials said were much stricter regulations on such sales tactics, the problems continue, said Township Councilman George Wittmann, who asked the township to prepare changes to the rules to tighten them further.
The changes to the ordinance include:
- Permits for canvassing or soliciting are only valid for a 30-day period.
- A permit only allows for the residence to be solicited once, not repeatedly.
- After the permit expires, the streets and neighborhoods listed in the canvassing permit can’t be listed in other permit until six months later.
- A permit can be rejected, suspended or revoked permanently, if the application has misrepresentations in it, or the applicant commits criminal, illegal, “fraudulent or unethical conduct.” Also: annoying, harassing, intimidating or bullying conduct.
- The permits are issued to a single individual, not multiple employees or agents.
The council was unanimous on introducing the changes. The final public hearing on the changes is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 25 during the township council meeting in town hall.