Huntington Woods might regulate placement of unsolicited materials

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published January 14, 2020

HUNTINGTON WOODS — Huntington Woods is looking to control how unsolicited materials are received at homes in the city.

The City Commission Jan. 7 approved the first reading of an ordinance about where unsolicited materials can be placed on a property. This includes on a porch, securely attached to the front door, through a mail slot, between the front and screen doors, or left personally with the property’s occupant.

The city has received complaints from residents about free circulars — something a resident hasn’t subscribed to — being tossed in the driveway or in the yard.

City Attorney Carol Rosati stated that this is one of the main reasons the ordinance was drafted, as it has been an issue in many of the communities in which she works. Huntington Woods City Manager Amy Sullivan and Rosati said it wouldn’t hurt for Huntington Woods to have an ordinance like some of these other communities.

“The point is, people don’t want this stuff thrown all over their yard and then it’s their responsibility to go out and pick it up,” Rosati said.

A question that arose during the meeting was how Huntington Woods could enforce such an ordinance. This was the question resident Claire Galed posed to the commission. Galed said she wasn’t against the law, but she questioned whether it would be effective.

“I’m not against it. I’m not sure that it’s really going to accomplish much because, even though it’s on the books, I’m not sure how you’re going to really enforce it,” she said.

According to the ordinance, the publisher of the materials would be held responsible, even if the publisher hired someone to deliver the circulars. Rosati said the ordinance has been successful in other communities.

Residents who would want to report a violation would have to contact City Hall and ask a city employee to come to their property to witness and document the violation, which would be a municipal civil infraction.

Commissioner Joe Rozell said material that gets delivered to just the end of the driveway sits there for a long time and becomes unsightly.

“It gets run over by the car, rained on. It becomes totally unreadable, whatever was in it,” he said. “It’s better, at least, if it’s on the porch or near the front door. The homeowner is likely to take it into the house, as opposed to going to the end of the driveway, where it’s often not picked up, especially since it’s something they didn’t subscribe to or aren’t asking for.”

The ordinance must be passed again at its second reading for it to become official. The next City Commission meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4 at City Hall.