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Front Royal council to hold hearing on roadside solicitation

By Ben Orcutt - borcutt@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- The Town Council voted unanimously on Monday to advertise for public hearing an ordinance that would prohibit solicitation on town streets.

The vote was 5-0 -- Councilman Thomas E. Conkey is on vacation -- and based on concerns of the panel over youths coming out into roadways to solicit for events like car washes.

Vice Mayor Bret W. Hrbek asked that the matter be brought forward in part due to a concern voiced by a town resident who was solicited for a car wash at the intersection of Royal Avenue and Main Street.

Hrbek said it does seem like a legitimate concern and a safety issue, and that holding a public hearing is a good idea. Hrbek said he also is aware of youths going onto Commerce Avenue to solicit donations.

"So I look forward to the public coming out and speaking about this so that we know which direction that the public would like to see us move," Hrbek said.

Councilman N. Shae Parker also weighed in.

"I want to encourage those organizations that do this type of activity to attend the public hearings so that we can get their input as well to find how much oversight maybe that they need," Parker said.

It could be, Parker added, that perhaps only a policy would be needed and not an ordinance to address concerns.

Councilman Carson C. Lauder Jr. also believes that safety is an issue.

"It could be an accident or someone hurt badly, so I will support it too," Lauder said of the motion.

Councilman Chris W. Holloway said that perhaps a form could be provided at the town office that organizations could pick up and a responsible adult who would be overseeing the activity identified.

Holloway said he does not have a problem with people being on sidewalks, but he does have a concern when they go out onto the street.

Councilman Thomas H. Sayre agreed that perhaps an ordinance would not be necessary to address the problem.

"Maybe if we just made an announcement for people to be more careful, not go out into the roads, that that would solve the issue," Sayre said. "I do know that people need to be near the road somewhat. Obviously, going out into the road isn't a good idea."

Although Conkey was absent from Monday's meeting, he has said in a work session that he is concerned about solicitation by youths on sidewalks for fear that a child could get pushed onto the street as the result of horseplay.

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I have seen these kids many times. They are good spirited teenagers trying to raise money for good causes. Some of them are old enough to drive, and all of them will be soon. If they don't know the dangers of standing on the side of the road, this is a good time for them to learn. It's not like the intersection of Royal Ave and Main Street is considered to be a dangerous place.... it doesn't even have its own traffic light! If the town wants to crack down on undesireable youth behavior, they should focus on the blight of hoodlums who have infested the gazebo area lately.


I agree with you (ryank) 100%..


I agree these are good spirited teenagers. I'm more concerned about the overall ramifications (read: leering Johns). I know these girls are raising money for a good cause, but I've seen some of the skeevy "clientele" and it's a little disconcerting. It sometimes seems the disgusting old onlookers are more of a threat than the traffic.

Also, "hoodlums" who infest the gazebo area are doing so because there's nothing for kids between the ages of 10 and 21 to do for leisure in this town.

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