A question by a resident has led to the city of Woodstock to revisit an ordinance that regulates soliciting in the right-of-way.
The Woodstock City Council on Monday heard from Ralph Broughton, a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 11768, based out of St. Michael The Archangel Catholic Church in Woodstock.
Broughton informed the council that his fellow Knights were told that they could no longer collect donations in the right-of-way of city streets.
The Knights are most known for their collection of donations in the median along Highway 92 near Interstate 575. After residents donate, the Knights usually hand out Tootsie Rolls to motorists.
He added he was told to apply for a permit at city hall, but noted he wasn't able to receive a permit.
"We don’t want to violate anything, so for the last three months, we haven’t been out there," Broughton said, adding he's witnessed other organizations that continue to collect donations along public roads.
The city in 2011 passed an ordinance that banned solicitation in all public rights-of-way.
The ordinance was in response to traveling youth sports teams that were seen soliciting in the right-of-way on Highway 92 near its intersection with Trickum Road.
City Manager Jeff Moon said the city could look at implementing a provision to allow charitable organizations to apply for permits to solicit in the right-of-way.
He also said he'd support maintaining an age restriction on who can apply and receive permits and who can solicit in the right-of-way.
He also said he'd recommend the city not charging for the permits.
The city manager on Tuesday said he could bring back a proposal some time in February to the City Council.
Moon added Broughton's organization was not able to obtain a permit as there is not a mechanism in place to apply for a permit to solicit in the right-of-way.
Mayor Donnie Henriques added he felt it was "time" the city address this issue.
Along with keeping an age restriction in place, the mayor noted he felt the city needs to be consistent in its enforcement of the ordinance and to revoke the permit of organizations
“I think they (city staff) can come up with something that will suit all needs in this respect.”
Ward 1 Councilman Randy Brewer stressed to Broughton that the city's intent with the ordinance was to not hinder organizations that solicit for charitable reasons.
“It was us trying to protect people who weren’t protecting their own kids," he added.