Harrison residents can shut their doors on most doorstep sales pitches by signing up for the now approved "no-knock" registry that would ban door-to-door salespeople and other solicitors from visiting their homes.
The Harrison Town Board voted to approve the registry Thursday as part of an update to a local law regulating street peddlers and solicitors. The "no-knock" list is similar to a "do not call list" available to block telephone solicitors.
Interested homeowners can sign up to join the list at the town clerk's office starting next week.
"We're very happy about this law, we're very excited about it," said Police Chief Anthony Marraccini. "We think it's long overdue, we've had just too many problems and incidents with solicitors engaging in really problematic tactics."
A list of residences on the registry will be handed to licensed solicitors when they receive their permits once a month. Potential solicitors will also now have to pass a background check in order to receive a permit. The background check will be paid for with a $150 application fee.
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Some small changes were also made to the times that solicitors can visit homes not on the registry. At-home sales pitches can only be made from 10 a.m. to either 7 p.m. or sunset, whichever is earlier. Harrison Councilwoman Marlane Amelio said the board considered stopping solicitations at 5 p.m., before dinner time, but wasn't able to for legal reasons.
"We had hopes we could curtail that window of opportunity for them and make it even smaller, but we were told there could be some legal concerns," she said. "The answer to that is you simply register at the no-knock registry."
There will be limitations to the law, non-profit charities, volunteer organizations, school-sponsored activities and visits from politicians and religious groups are some of the exceptions to the ban and those groups are still be allowed to visit homes on the registry. But for-profit sales groups are banned altogether.
An unauthorized sales pitch to a home on the no-knock registry is punishable by a $500 fine and a maximum of 15 days in jail.
Harrison Town Clerk Jackie Greer, who has spent months finalizing the law, said she is expecting a busy week in her office as residents look to join the list.
"I think as soon as it is approved I am going to be bombarded with calls, which I want," she said.
The idea of a no-knock registry in Harrison dates back a few years. Late Town Clerk Joseph Acocella Jr. had worked on a registry while he was in office and Greer has been working to finalize the law since taking office in January. The board first .
Harrison Village Attorney Jonathan Kraut said he expects the town to be able to begin placing names on the registry once the law becomes official next week.