NORTH REDINGTON BEACH — Residents, visitors and property owners frequently complain to town hall about unsolicited printed materials showing up at their residences. At their Aug. 8 meeting, town commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance on its second hearing that outlines how the distribution of unsolicited printed materials may and may not be done.
Citizen complaints are primarily about the haphazard manner in which these materials are distributed. According to the ordinance, grievances include “being dropped on the ground at or near a front door, being placed in a plastic bag with a rock or other weight and thrown out of a moving car onto a lawn, being attached to or hung on door handles and house/apartment numbers, and being stuck onto car windows.”
Individuals distributing these unwanted materials often ignore no-trespassing or no-solicitation signs. When these materials mount up, the accumulation “creates a visual blight” and often alerts potential burglars and trespassers that the owner has been gone for an extended period of time.
Another resulting consequence of these unsolicited materials is that wind and rain can blow the paper into the town’s storm drains. This conceivably could result in ecological concerns to the Gulf of Mexico that borders the town.
This ordinance passed on its first reading at the July 10 meeting. At that time Jay Daigneault, the town attorney, explained that the ordinance replaced a prior solicitation ordinance that was not constitutional due to the fact that the town cannot ban solicitation.
During the first reading of the ordinance, commissioners agreed to omit the language “thrown from vehicles,” to allow the Beach Beacon’s current method of weekly newspaper distribution. That wording had been removed in the revisions presented at the second reading.
There are only seven approved methods of distribution specifically outlined in the ordinance. They include: placement in a distribution box or receptacle labeled as the designated point of distribution; delivering the materials to an on-duty concierge, security guard, property manager, or other person present on a multi-family premises for subsequent retrieval by residents; by causing the materials to be delivered by the United States Postal Service; delivering through a mail slot on the front door or principal structure; by handing the materials personally to the owner, occupant, and/or lessee of the premises; leaving it between the exterior front door (if one exists and is unlocked) and the interior front door; and by complete insertion of the material between the bottom of the front door and the door sill (such that the material is not sticking out of the exterior of the door).
No other method of distribution is permitted other than the seven mentioned above. The ordinance includes a fine of $200 for each violation. The ordinance passed unanimously on its second and final reading.
In other news
• An ordinance concerning administrative inspections of licensed businesses passed unanimously on its second and final hearing. The ordinance had been amended to comply with recent judicial rulings.
• 2019-2020 beach concession licenses for both Beach Services West and Windsurfin International were renewed. Town Clerk Mari Campbell reported that there had been no violations or complaints on those two businesses during the prior year they were licensed.
• Vice Mayor Richard Bennett was reappointed to the library board for another two-year term ending in 2021.