An ordinance that would have prohibited businesses from leaving advertising fliers at homes with "no soliciting" signs was rejected Tuesday night by the Gilbert Town Council.
The council voted 4-3 to kill the proposed ordinance. Council members argued that the current trespassing statute alleviates concerns made by homeowners who supported the measure.
The proposal would have made it a civil penalty and a $500 fine to leave a flier at a house with a no soliciting sign more than twice in the same year.
It also, as recently rewritten, required that employees who leave fliers at doors use sidewalks and not trample lawns or walk close to windows.
But council members said it was still unclear whether such a code could be enforced without overloading town staff with complaints, and some argued that laws restricting trespassing already allow homeowners to call the police when they don't want people trampling their lawns and leaving fliers.
"How in the heck is this going to be enforced?" Vice Mayor Steve Urie asked. "It would be a horrific record-keeping that's going to have to go on. As much as it is an annoyance, I think the trespassing sign takes care of it."
Under the failed proposal, town code enforcers would have overseen the flier complaints, which would have held businesses responsible, rather than the employees who actually trespass.
Council members who rejected the proposal were Urie, Linda Abbott, Dave Crozier and Les Presmyk. Voting in support of the proposal were Mayor Steve Berman - who had previously opposed it - and council members Joan Krueger and Don Skousen.
Skousen noted that no one had come Tuesday to support the ordinance, and suggested that if there is support, a group could align and put an initiative on a future ballot.
Town Attorney Susan Goodwin told the council that in her research, many cities in the state don't have an ordinance restricting fliers, and those that do most often don't prosecute for the offense. Tempe is an exception and has a history of prosecuting the offenses, she said.