BY rebekah allen
Advocate staff writer
August 17, 2012
The Metro Council came a step closer to approving a system to shield residents from door-to-door peddlers Wednesday at the finance and executive committee meeting.
Councilman Rodney “Smokie” Bourgeois proposed an ordinance that would require door-to-door salesmen to get a $5 permit with the Baton Rouge Police Department.
The ordinance has been modified since it was originally introduced so it doesn’t affect solicitors with religious or charitable purposes, or politicians who are canvassing neighborhoods for support.
Last week, attorney John Delgado, who is running against Bourgeois for the District 12 Metro Council seat, accused Bourgeois of proposing the ordinance change to curb his ability to canvass neighborhoods.
“This has nothing to do with the pope having to get a permit, or Kip (Holden) or Mike (Walker) having to get a permit,” Bourgeois said. “It’s strictly for people in neighborhoods working for profit.”
Bourgeois said he’s gotten complaints from constituents who are concerned about the salesmen, because there’s no way to determine if they’re legitimate or if they may have some criminal intent.
Councilman Chandler Loupe noted that two years ago, he had the same problem in his district, and proposed an ordinance that allowed subdivisions and individuals to protect themselves by putting up “No Soliciting” signs.
Peddlers can be charged with trespassing if they try to sell to a house with a sign, he said.
Loupe questioned whether an additional ordinance was necessary considering that residents could solve the problem by putting up a sign.
The finance and executive committee recommended that the full council approve the item when it meets next week.
At the Metro Council’s zoning meeting, council members approved rezoning the old Macaroni Grill in Citiplace to C-AB-2, which will allow the owners to move forward with opening the Pelican House Tap Room and Whiskey Bar in October.
The bar is expected to feature an extensive draft beer, whiskey and liquor selection, its owners Garrett Morgan and Chris Juge have said.
The bar will feature a lunch menu, a New Orleans-like atmosphere and live music shows.