HOLLYWOOD PARK — Not even a year old, a voluntary No Visit List aimed at permanently keeping out unwanted visitors continues to get a thumbs up from residents, officials said.
A previous all-out ban in the city faced a legal challenge, leading to approval last summer of an optional list signed by individual homeowners barring unwelcome door-to-door solicitations.
“Prior to last year, we had a complete ban on all of these types of visitors to the city, but the constitutionality of it was challenged by a pest-control business,” said Mayor Chris Murphy. “It was at that point that we began researching what to do to still address this problem. This program is what we came up with and it went into effect last summer.”
Brought to the City Council for approval in June and adopted in July, the volunteer program allows residents to sign a list to bar solicitors, peddlers and canvassers from visiting their homes.
“Since we introduced this program, it has been very well received,” Murphy said. “We have had about one-third of our residents sign up for the list and so far, it has been a pretty good deterrent.”
Under the rules, sales and service personnel as well as others wishing to come into the city must first visit City Hall and apply for a pass good for a year. In addition, they must avoid the homes of residents who put their properties on the list.
The list is a public document, meaning anyone can see it, but that has not deterred many neighbors from signing up, officials said.
Some homeowners have posted signs – either homemade or created by Councilwoman Delaine Hall – in their front yards stating they are part of the No Visit List.
“We haven’t had many (solicitors) try to get around the list,” Murphy said. “Most of the time, once they find out that they have to apply for permission to enter the city, they choose to give up pursuing it.”
According to Murphy, violators can receive a citation. If the infractions continue to occur, the police step in.
“So far it hasn’t gotten to that point,” Murphy said. “(The list) has worked wonderfully for our residents and it has done what it was created to do. In this day and age where people have to worry about package thefts and invasions of privacy, we couldn’t be happier with how it has worked.”
Castle Hills has a similar No Visit List that restricts visitors coming to the city.
Hill Country Village had a policy designed the same way as Hollywood Park’s, which denied entry to all solicitors, but that was also repealed last August.
Shavano Park doesn’t have a No Visit List, but it does require permits for those wishing to enter the city on business or service calls.