Selectmen to review door-to-door ban Tuesday night

Door-knocking salespeople would be outlawed under a proposed town ordinance revision on the agenda of the next selectmen’s meeting, Nov. 13 — a Tuesday, not a Wednesday as usual for the selectmen — starting at 6:30 in town hall.

The selectmen will discuss setting up a public hearing and town meeting to consider adopting the revised ordinance — although its constitutionality has been questioned.

The proposed revision is some six pages, but the heart of it is: “No person or entity shall peddle, vend, hawk or sell upon any public streets, or from house to house, anywhere in town, any goods, wares or other merchandise.”

It changes the current town ordinance by eliminating a permit process that allows people to legally pursue door-to-door sales.

“It’s in draft form now,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi said.

Comcast of Connecticut, a cable TV firm, objects to the revision. Attorneys from Locke Lord, a Hartford law firm representing Comcast, met with the selectmen in executive session on Oct. 24.

“Commercial speech is a protected activity under the First Amendment,” attorney David Bogan wrote in a Sept. 24 letter for Comcast. “…Thus, a municipal regulation or ordinance targeting such speech must directly advance a legitimate governmental interest and be narrowly tailored to restrict no more speech than necessary.”

Comcast has been seeking a peddling permit since February and objects to the town’s delay in acting on the application.

“There’ve been other people in to apply, as well,” Marconi said.

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