In addition to greenery, flowers and outdoor fun, warmer weather brings pests of all sorts–and not just the buzzing, winged kind. Wilton officials have seen an uptick in reports about overly eager door-to-door peddlers and bothersome solicitations.

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice has received a number of complaints from residents, and calls reporting suspicious peddlers are up at the Police Department as well. Vanderslice says town officials are looking into both long-term and short-term measures they can take to address residents’ concerns.

Commercial peddling and solicitations are permitted under Chapter 19 of the Town ordinances. Anyone who wants to go door-to-door selling or soliciting anything has to go through the Wilton Police to obtain a permit. There are exceptions to that rule:  farmers and gardeners selling their produce, or other food purveyors selling certain items don’t have to get a permit; neither do individuals or groups authorized to represent any recognized charitable, civic or religious organization.

Peddling and solicitation permits cost $25 per year and are valid for one year only; each permit can be issued to one person only. Permits limit any kind of door-to-door activity to certain hours (9 a.m. to dusk) and can specify certain areas where the solicitation activities must be contained.

The regulations also spell out what information is required to obtain police permission, how permits must be displayed, any exceptions to the ordinances, and conditions under which a permit can be revoked.

The long-term solution means making changes to those ordinances, something that can only be done through the Town Meeting process. Vanderslice says the Board of Selectmen can begin developing proposed changes to take to the Town Meeting.

“I met with town counsel Ira Bloom and requested he perform related research including whether the town can ban commercial peddlers and solicitors. At [next] Monday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, I will be sharing residents’ concerns to allow the Board to begin discussing possible changes.”

In the short-term, Vanderslice will also meet with Wilton Police Chief John Lynch to discuss the resident reports and complaints received by the town, including peddling outside of allowed hours. They’ll consider whether any currently issued permits need to be revoked.

In the town ordinances, the reasons given for revoking or suspending a permit include:

  • Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement contained in the application for a permit;
  • Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement made by the permittee in the course of conducting the activities for which the permit was granted;
  • Conducting activities regulated by this chapter in a manner contrary to the provisions contained in the permit;
  • Conviction for any crime involving moral turpitude; or
  • Conducting activities regulated by this chapter in such a manner as to create a public nuisance, constitute a breach of the peace or endanger the health, safety or general welfare of the public.

Vanderslice asked that if residents feel a peddler has violated the regulations within the ordinance should contact the police or her office with any details. Because there are currently multiple permitted peddlers, Vanderslice suggests residents try and get a specific name to provide to police, although she also says safety should be a top concern.

“Residents should not feel they have to open their door to a peddler or any stranger,” says Vanderslice.