County moves toward restricting solicitation, creating permit process

  • Thursday, May 8, 2014

Berkeley County Council gave second of three readings to an ordinance that will halt roadside solicitation in unincorporated parts of the county.

The reading came during the April 28 regular meeting. Council voted unanimously for the second reading. The new ordinance will not take effect until after a third, final reading. The soonest that reading could occur is during the Tuesday, May 27, meeting, an irregular meeting date for council due to Memorial Day being held the previous day.

The ordinance would prohibit solicitation by groups other than rescue squads, volunteer fire departments, and nonprofit organizations, and would establish a permitting process that would restrict permits to two permits allowed per year for each organization, and limit solicitations to three days per permit.

There may be a $50 application fee when applying through the Sheriff’s Office.

County Council District 4 candidate Aldo Napoli raised the issue over solicitation in Berkeley County roadways earlier this year with council. Napoli is running against Tommy Newell and James Royce for the Republican nod for the seat currently occupied by Cathy Davis, who has decided not to run for reelection.

Napoli had said a group of solicitors in the Sangaree area were bordering on harassment and posing a safety hazard as they solicit year round from motorists in busy intersections. The group claims to be with an out-of-state church called New Life Church. While some have expressed concern over whether or not the church is a scam, S.C. Consumer Affairs has not investigated those claims.

As currently written, the ordinance would levy a $500 fine and possible imprisonment of up to 30 days for those violating it.

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