City tightens solicitor ordinance

April 5, 2019

DIXON – The City Council recently tightened hours for solicitors to go door to door and strengthened city policy when it comes to rule-breakers.

Late last year, the city received several complaints of solicitors knocking at late hours and the council discussed shortening permitted hours to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The council amended its ordinance Monday to do so and also tweaked sections of the code to strengthen the city’s authority to revoke a company’s license for breaking the rules.

Like most cities, Dixon city code requires commercial solicitors to apply for a permit to be allowed to knock on doors, and they are not allowed to pursue homes with no soliciting signs.

Every solicitor in a team must carry a permit with the city seal, and residents are encouraged to ask to see the permit or call the police if they don’t present one.

The city can revoke a solicitor’s license through a hearing process if there’s evidence of breaking the code, and the revocation can be grounds for denying future permits to the solicitor. There’s a better chance of revoking a license if residents file formal complaints when they see solicitors violating the code.

Commercial solicitation is illegal without a city permit, but certain solicitation is protected by the First Amendment and does not require a city permit such as religious, political or nonprofit organizations.