Hudson City Council unanimously passed a measure to increase the hours for door-to-door solicitations in the city at Wednesday night’s meeting.
"I'll hold my nose and vote for this," council member J. Dan Williams quipped, reflecting his displeasure with the issue.
The measure, which will now allow both non-commercial groups, and salesmen for commercial enterprises to knock on Hudson doors until 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, all year.
Council President David Basil said that in 2008, the law was changed to end door-to-door solicitations during standard time, at 7 p.m.
"I supported it then," he said, "but we've been challenged."
Basil says that Ohio Citizen Action, an anti-pollution group, is threatening to begin a lawsuit against the city. They won a suit in the 6th Circuit, Federal Court of Appeals, with a nearly identical fact situation.
Williams said that, while he was against reinstating the longer time period, he was not willing to spend any taxpayer dollars on Ohio Citizen Action. Both he and Basil said that it was likely the city would lose the legal fight, and they could be made to pay not only their own attorney fees and expenses, but attorney fees for OCA as well."
"It's not anything we want to do, but the law is not on our side," council member Hal DeSaussure said.
Hudson resident John Gillespie, addressed council and described an incident where a rejected solicitor stepped just beyond his property and taunted him. He also described a second incident where a person seeking signatures on a petition was asked to leave, and after doing so, lowered her pants and made objectionable gestures and remarks.
He asked that the city take whatever action possible to protect Hudson citizens from these types of situations. He said that signs posted on his property refusing entry to solicitors have been ignored.
DeSaussure suggested that those having a bad experience like Gillespie's should report the incidents to the city. He said that a database could be created that would provide evidence in support of future attempts to limit solicitation.
Council member Keith Smith suggested that the city provide citizen education to Hudson residents on how to handle solicitors, and the right things a citizen should do if they show up at their door.
Basil said that this was an "excellent, excellent, suggestion," and that he would fully support placing that information on the website or even a mailing list.