King County bans unwanted door-to-door solicitation

October 25, 2011

By Staff

Residents in rural and unincorporated King County gained a tool to discourage door-to-door solicitors due to a recent County Council decision.

If a resident posts a “No Soliciting” or “No Trespassing” sign on his or her property, then a commercial solicitor is prohibited from contacting the resident. Under the ordinance, violators face a $100 fine.

The regulation adopted by the council Oct. 3 applies to more than 300,000 residents in unincorporated areas.

Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah’s representative, proposed the regulation after hearing complaints from residents in Redmond Ridge, a master planned development in unincorporated King County.

“I am grateful to our sheriff’s office and our prosecuting attorney’s office for working diligently to research and draft a regulation that strikes a balance between freedom of speech and our residents’ right to peace and security in their own homes,” Lambert said in a statement.

Redmond Ridge homeowners requested regulations after aggressive magazine salespeople and other solicitors harassed neighbors.

“I am concerned that residents in the unincorporated area may be more vulnerable to criminal activity connected with solicitation, particularly among immigrant cultures and seniors in retirement communities,” Lambert said. “This tool can help them partner with our sheriff’s office to improve the safety of their neighborhoods.”

The restriction on solicitation does not apply to political, religious or charitable activities by nonprofit organizations, such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, in order to avoid any conflict related to First Amendment rights to free speech.

The measure also does not apply to local farmers offering produce for sale. The council also exempted government agencies, such as the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Postal Service, from the ban.

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