After being told that their efforts to solicit campaign petition signatures would be exempt, Evanston aldermen voted unanimously this week to impose new restrictions on panhandlers and solicitors in residential neighborhoods.
Asked about the personal impact by Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, City Attorney Grant Farrar said the door-knocking by aldermen or their supporters would be political speech, which would be exempt from the ban.
The ordinance defines soliciting to include pitches for commercial products and services and requests for gifts to non-profit organizations.
The aldermen also voted to further limit hours for soliciting to from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. The ordinance as drafted by city staff would have let soliciting continue until 9 p.m.
Hours for panhandling will be limited to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.
Both activities would be banned on Sundays and national holidays.
Solicitors and panhandlers will also be required to honor “no soliciting” signs posted by residents.
Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, suggested that city staff provide sample signs that residents could download from the city’s website.
The city previously has had restrictions on panhandling that applied primarily to commercial districts and on peddlers in residential neighborhoods, but until now did not regulate door-to-door soliciting.