Door-to-door: Selectmen want to limit salesmen

Door-to-door selling has long been viewed with a mixture of annoyance and concern by some Ridgefielders, and now the selectmen have launched an effort to ban — or at least limit — the practice.

“Generally speaking, people don’t want people going door to door,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi told the Board of Selectmen.

The board quickly reached consensus after a short discussion earlier this month, agreeing to have town attorneys draft a proposed amendment to the town’s vending, peddling and soliciting ordinance, with the goal of putting a lid on door-to-door sales activity.

“It may not be rampant, but you don’t want to wait until it is,” said Selectman Steve Zemo.

The amendment would have to be approved by voters at a town meeting to become law.

Some door-to-door activity — religious proselytizing, political electioneering or lobbying — is protected as free speech by the Constitution.

The issue came up briefly in the selectmen’s discussion

“What are we going to be limiting?” Selectman Bob Hebert asked.

“Door to door,” said Marconi.

“Jehovah Witnesses?” asked Hebert.

“Legally, we can’t,” said Marconi.

Some activities by charities, such as signature-gathering and fund raising, may also protected, Marconi said.

The board noted that many innocent and time-honored door-to-door activities — like Girl Scouts selling cookies — seem to be falling out of practice, anyway.

“If we could do a complete ban on door-to-door, our residents would appreciate it,” said Hebert.

He added, “Can we ban spam phone calls?”