Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Roadside Solicitation Rules in Durham

New Roadside Solicitation Rules in DurhamNew Roadside Solicitation Rules in Durham
Effective January 16, 2013

Fact Sheet

The City of Durham recently changed the rules for solicitation on streets in the city's corporate limits. For purposes of the new rules, solicitation means asking for money, food or other products and selling of newspapers and other First-Amendment protected goods. Key changes are: Effective January 16, permits from the City are no longer required, and types of locations from which solicitations can be made have changed for the safety of solicitors and motorists.

Here are some answers to questions you might have about Durham's revised rules.

1. Can I still solicit from motor vehicles, including cars, on streets or highways in the city?
Yes, but there are limitations. First, as long as you're not impeding traffic, solicitation is allowed on "non-busy" ;* streets such as those in neighborhoods. However, for safety reasons, solicitation is now subject to new rules on "busy" * streets:
• Streets must be one-way only and not an entrance or exit ramp.
• The solicitor must be on a paved sidewalk, NOT a median or grassy area.
• Transactions must be with a passenger, NOT the driver, and ONLY on the right-hand or passenger side of the car. The solicitor may leave the paved sidewalk to go to the passenger side of a car.
• The transaction must be started and completed while the car is stopped at a red light or stop sign so as not to impede traffic.

2. Can I walk between lanes of traffic that is already stopped to ask for money or sell newspapers?
Not if the car is on a "busy" street. In that case, the car must be in the right- hand lane, and the solicitor cannot go to the driver's side.

3. How about medians?
No person may stand on a median (unless just pausing to get safely from one side of the road to the other). This applies to all streets, both "busy" and "non-busy. "

4. What about advertising done from a street to attract customers to a business located in a building?
This kind of advertising, such as holding going-out-of- business signs, may be done along all streets. If it is a "busy" street, the person holding the sign must stand on a paved sidewalk, or be farther from the roadway than the sidewalk. The sign ordinance also may restrict signage.

5. What about political activities?
The solicitation rules do not apply to persons simply holding signs referring to a political matter. But, solicitors asking for money or handing out brochures must follow the rules summarized in this fact sheet.

6. What other restrictions are there on "busy" streets?
• No pets are allowed to accompany solicitors, unless they are service animals.
• Solicitors MUST wear reflective vests, kept clean and in good condition. The vest must be "Class II or Class III ANSI 107-2004."
• Solicitors may only solicit during daylight.
• Solicitors MUST clean up and remove their property from the site any time they leave.
• Only newspapers, magazines or other First Amendment-protected items may be sold.
• Signs are limited in size (no larger than 2 feet in any dimension), and cannot be lighted or animated.
• Solicitations cannot be done in work zones or within 100 feet of a bridge.

7. Do I need to come to City Hall before soliciting?
Permits are no longer required for any of the above activities. However, anyone selling -- whether on roadways or elsewhere -- must pay the business tax (privilege license tax), which can be done on the first floor of City Hall. Those who only ask for money and are not selling do not need to pay the business tax.

8. Why were the changes made?
Safety of solicitors and motorists was the primary purpose for changes to the rules.

9. If I have questions?
More details are contained in the new revised roadway solicitation ordinance, as adopted by the Durham City Council. Questions should be directed to Richard Weintraub in the Office of the City Attorney at (919) 560-4158 ext. 13242, or richard.weintraub@ durhamnc. gov. If you email, please include "roadways" ; in the subject line. For sign ordinance questions, contact the City-County Planning Department at (919) 560-4137 ext. 28214 (Harold Smith), or ext. 28252 (Dennis Doty, CZO), or email planning@durhamnc. gov.

*"Busy" streets are U. S. highways, State roads and highways, streets and highways with a speed limit of 35 MPH or more, streets and highways with more than two designated travel lanes, streets and highways with a median, and one-way streets. "Non-busy" ; streets are the rest of the streets located in the city limits.

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