Hanover looking to ban roadside solicitation brings mixed reactions

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - Hanover County leaders are looking to stop all the solicitation on the county public roads and designated highways. Similar laws are in effect in Henrico County, so now leaders think the problem is working it's way into their county.

Hanover County leaders say it's all about safety not only for the people on the sides of the roads, but for those who are driving as well. But, for groups like the county firefighters, who use their boots to collect money for a worthy cause, the change it is certainly causing a problem.

The right of way could be the wrong way to make some cash, even for firefighters in the county. Even though they still use their boots to collect money for muscular dystrophy, you won't find them on the roads anymore. The change not because they were forced to, but we strongly encouraged for their safety.

They stopped collecting money in these boots for the muscular dystrophy association more than a year ago.

"Collecting in the intersections is a rate of $2,000 an hour compared to only $200 in 6 hours," said Russ Acres, a firefighter.

The lesser amount coming from what the county believes are safer locations, instead of in the right of ways or on the road.

"We are just trying to collect all the money for muscular dystrophy as we can," added Russ.

Now the county wants to make their move, before someone is killed. A key reason for the proposed ordinance, leaders say, is a result of what happens during race weekends. They say people who are banned from selling tickets and merchandise in Henrico County are working their way into Hanover. So, now they want to stop people from giving and selling things to motorists, as well as people soliciting contributions.

"I understand it is a safety aspect of just having regular citizens out in the street collecting money," said Russ. "We work in the street everyday. We have the ability to look out for ourselves."

Pass or fail, Russ wants to work with the county and the Muscular Dystrophy Association to get a permit to collect money on the road.

"A slow process we got to convince one person at a time," said Russ.

As of now, you would still be able to stand in the medians with a sign with a message only, not something that would potentially solicit contributions from the drivers.

You can voice your opinion on the proposed ban at the Board of Supervisors meeting set for October 14.

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