Brightwaters is placing a six-month moratorium on its solicitation code because it violates federal law, officials said.
The change was prompted by representatives of pest control company Aptive Environmental who reached out to the village, Brightwaters attorney Charles Casolaro told trustees during an Aug. 20 board meeting. Aptive Environmental is a Utah-based company that broke into the Long Island market in April 2018. It has sued multiple villages that have solicitation codes on its books, including Poquott, Floral Park and East Rockaway.
Federal courts have deemed some solicitation codes illegal because they’re a prohibition and infringement on freedom of speech, Casolaro said.
“I’ve read the cases, the cases are clear, solicitation bans are unconstitutional,” Casolaro said at the meeting. “Instead of getting a lawsuit ... the Village of Brightwaters will not enforce their non-solicitation ban code provisions for six months to allow us to rewrite the law. And in the process, we don’t enforce it, they won’t sue us. And if this company chooses to solicit the village, they have the right to do so.”
Casolaro said he drafted an “interim agreement” with Aptive Environmental, and the village will temporarily set aside its solicitation ban on weekends and federal holidays. The village also will not require a $2,500 insurance fee and a separate registration fee of about $75 for applicants looking to solicit in the village.
The board voted 4-0 to enter into the contract. Trustee Thomas Zepf was not present for the vote.
Casolaro said Friday he has emailed the agreement to the Texas law firm representing Aptive Environmental and was waiting on company representatives to sign the contract.
Jon Kelley, a Dallas-based attorney for Aptive, could not be reached Friday for comment.
At the village meeting, Casolaro explained that a new solicitation code could add “reasonable restrictions,” but could not ban certain days entirely and solicitors could not be charged a registration fee.
He told the handful of residents at the meeting they were free to turn away any solicitors who come on their properties and could also hang no-solicitation signs on their doors.