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Glenwood Springs ordinance is unconstitutional

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Free speech, guns, freedom of the press and ” door-to-door solicitation?

Door-to-door solicitation at homes is banned by a Glenwood Springs ordinance, but it’s protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, says a letter to the City Council from City Attorney Jan Shute.

“Although commercial solicitations are provided fewer protections than noncommercial solicitation, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution has been interpreted to prohibit the outright ban of door-to-door solicitations,” the letter says.



The battle over door-to-door solicitation has been waged around the U.S. often between cities trying to protect citizens’ privacy and organizations that solicit or engage in doorstep proselytizing like Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Shute recommends that the unconstitutional Glenwood Springs ordinance prohibiting door-to-door solicitation be removed from the municipal code. She couldn’t be immediately reached Tuesday.



The letter suggests the ordinance came under scrutiny after a letter from the Kirby Corp. told the city to review its general ban of residential peddling. Shute wrote that cities have less restrictive ways to protect homeowner’s rights to privacy and prevent fraud. For example, other sections of the municipal code prohibit “aggressive” solicitation and require commercial solicitors to be licensed.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has determined that commercial speech, including door-to-door peddling and solicitation, is entitled to protections under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and an outright ban of such speech is unconstitutional,” says a draft of an ordinance up for consideration by the City Council tomorrow night.

The change to the municipal code, if approved, would delete a section of the municipal code that prohibits residential door-to-door solicitation that is not requested by a property owner.

Among other items on Thursday’s City Council agenda, the Glenwood Springs Energy Efficiency Ad Hoc Committee will present a climate action plan. The plan is based on almost two years of work by the committee and includes recommendations to reduce Glenwood Springs greenhouse gas emissions and solid waste.

The City Council will also discuss a development application for a new auto body repair and paint facility at 77 Mel Ray Road; offer feedback on a development application for auto dealerships at the sites of the former 1st Choice Inns and Budget Host motel on Highway 6 in West Glenwood Springs; discuss a recommendation to remove most facilities at the Rodeo Grounds; consider an $89,000 bid for landscaping and a trail west of Eighth Street and Midland Avenue; and potentially appoint Rachel Pokrandt to the Glenwood Springs Housing Commission, which has two vacant seats and one vacant alternate seat.

The City Council meeting begins at 6 p.m. Thursday in City Hall.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

pfowler@postindependent.com

Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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