Islip Town is considering fining those responsible for distributing handbills and advertising materials to private residences, which can end up littering streets and waterways.
In a resolution jointly sponsored by councilmen Steve Flotteron and John Edwards, the town is moving to define as litter the unwanted commercial and noncommercial handbills and advertising materials routinely tossed on residents’ front lawns.
That would enable the town to amend its code and fine those responsible for the materials’ delivery.
The resolution, still under consideration, proposes a fine from $50 to $1,000 or imprisonment up to 15 days, or both, for each offense. Whoever is responsible for producing the offending circular and pays the deliverer would be fined.
“We’ve drawn a distinction between newspapers on the one hand and advertising pamphlets and handbills that can end up flying about in streets and work their way into sewers and on into our waterways,” said Edwards, adding they are unsightly and often come with plastic wrappings that further add to pollution.
The resolution states the pamphlets can’t be placed on the front lawn, side yard, backyard or driveway of a house or on the sidewalk. Federal law prohibits all but U.S. mail from being placed in a mailbox, so the idea is such material would have to be placed on a resident’s front stoop unless they asked otherwise.
“We don’t want to put these guys out of business, but there’s clearly an issue,” Edwards said.
The town board resolved Tuesday to hold a public hearing in coming weeks on the issue.