The long-held tradition of door-to-door visits by church members could be drastically curtailed, if not ended, by the door-knock ordinance approved Monday by the Cabot City Council. But it is not aimed at religious visits, but any uninvited solicitation to any residence where a sign prohibiting such visits is "prominently displayed," alderman Kevin Davis said.
The door-knock ordinance is one of 16 ordinances and resolutions considered by council members at the Monday city council meeting concerning issues ranging from building a new fire station, to repairing the Community Center roof, to allowing firefighters to wear polo-style shirts while on duty.
Mayor Bill Cypert and aldermen Ed Long, Ann Gilliam, Rick Prentice, Ryan Flynn, Angie Jones, Jon Moore and Davis attended the meeting. Dallan Buchanan was absent.
Ordinance 14-2013 sets out the policy for residents to post their residences to prohibit solicitation. Under the ordinance, it would be a misdemeanor subject to fines of $100 to $1,000 to solicit at residences that are posted.
Signs stating "No Solicitors," "No Solicitation," "No Soliciting," "No Peddlers," or "No Trespassing" would establish the residence as posted.
Lettering on the signs must be at least 1-inch tall and posted conspicuously to be seen as persons approach the residence.
Prentice said he is not satisfied with the ordinance because it does not require a business permit. He said he is afraid he will get "slammed" by sales groups. "This is just going to open Cabot up to anyone to come in," he remarked.
Flynn said requiring permits has been questioned as interfering with interstate commerce. Rather than trying to "skirt" the law, it was easier to let state prohibit soliciting on the highways, and property owners limit access to their property.
Davis said the ordinance is preferable to the city trying to establish who may or may not enter private property. Under the ordinance, it would be up to the property owner to limit access, he said.
Davis, responding to a question of how the ordinance would affect groups such as Girl Scouts, said there are no exceptions in the ordinance.
The ordinance was approved without opposition and will go into effect in 30 days, June 19.
•Ordinance 16-2013, allows the city to issue a promissory note of up to $300,000 to begin repairs on the roof of the Cabot Veterans Park Community Center.
•Ordinance 15-2013 amends the fire department handbook to allow lightweight polo-style shirts on duty.
Fire Chief Phil Robinson asked the council for an emergency clause in the ordinance to put it into effect immediately. Warm weather is here, Robinson said. Routine approval would take 90 days, nearly past the time the lightweight clothing would be most needed, he explained.
•Ordinance 12-2013, annexes land at the junction of West Mountain Springs Road with Arkansas Highway 5 that will be used as the site of the city’s new fire station.
•Resolution 26-2013, authorizes a contract with James Cone Construction to build the new fire station. The company bid $1.16 million for the project.
With approval of the annexation and contract, Cypert announced that a groundbreaking ceremony for the fire station would be held on May 31, "With construction to begin immediately afterward."
•Ordinance 13-2013 also annexes a tract of land into the city. The land is adjacent to the current fire station No. 2 on West Main Street; the annexation was requested by the property owners and is zoned commercial.
•Ordinance 3-2013, further defines the city’s policy on when compensatory (comp) time is used, and how much may be carried over between years. Non-uniformed employees must use any comp time before vacation time may be scheduled, uniformed employees are encouraged to use comp time before vacation, but it is not required.
Regular employees may carry over 16 hours of comp time to the next year, while police may carry over 25 and firefighters 48 hours.