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Evanston may limit door-to-door soliciting

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After complaints from residents of her ward, an Evanston alderman has asked city staff to draft an ordinance that would restrict door-to-door soliciting in town.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, made the request at this week's City Council meeting, after several residents on her message board complained about people coming to their doors with implausible hard-luck stories asking for work or cash.

Evanston has long had laws on the books imposing restrictions on panhandling — the sort of begging that generally takes place on the streets of business districts. It also regulates peddlers — people who sell merchandise or services from carts or other vehicles. And it even limits tag days by charitable groups.

But it apparently does not have any restrictions on people who come to your door with a hard-luck story or a pitch for magazine subscriptions or contributions to a real or imaginary charity.

Some residents of Rainey's south Evanston ward have suggested that the city should adopt restrictions like those in place in Highland Park — where solicitors have to get a license from the police chief. The license permits them to go door-to-door for no more than seven days and requires them to respect "no soliciting" signs posted by residents on their doors.

Violators are subject to a fine of $50 to $500 or up to six months in jail.

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