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Solicitation times, fees adjusted in Hampton

| Monday, March 12, 2018, 9:00 p.m.

Solicitors will have a smaller timeframe when it comes to visiting homes in Hampton Township, one of several changes to the former ordinance.

Approved solicitors will now only be permitted until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. And the fee was also raised to $100 for a 30-day permit and $25 for each applicant under that permit for that month, according to the new ordinance.

The recommendation was presented by Hampton Chief of Police Tom Vulakovich. He said that it reflects what neighboring communities are presently doing. In the previous ordinance dated 1985, solicitors were allowed to solicit in Hampton from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the initial license fee was $35.

“It's just too late to allow them to go beyond 7 p.m.,” he said.

Vulakovich said in addition to safety, it gives residents “entitlement to peace within their neighborhood and front door without having people come to it late at night.”

The Town of McCandless currently charges $100 for each license application and $25 for each vendor associated with the applicant, according to the township's website. Fox Chapel has a $200 one-time per year permit fee and an additional $15 per day per person, according to its website.

All these communities require background checks. Christopher Lochner, municipal manager for the township, said at the recent meeting that the township's legal counsel Vince Tucceri also reviewed the changes.

Vulakovich said Hampton had been getting more applications from solicitors compared to others, which he assumed was because of the lower fees and longer soliciting hours.

“We seem to get more solicitors in our municipality than anywhere else,” said the chief.

At the meeting, Vulakovich also requested approval to purchase 10 new taser units for his department for $13,000, which would come out of the police department's Capital Improvements Program budget. Each officer carries a taser and a weapon, he said.

They have 21 taser units and the 10 he seeks replacing are for those that are more than 15 years old, four of which have completely failed. These cannot be repaired, he said.

He said tasers have provided an alternative to police in the past.

For example, last year an officer on Route 8 had stopped an individual, who then started to approach the officer with a roofing hammer, said Vulakovich.

He indicated that the officer could have taken serious action.

“Instead he got out a taser and saved a lot of grief,” said Vulakovich.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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