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New effort to ground pesky fliers on doorsteps - State ordinance calls for fines starting at $250

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Chinese restaurants, pizza parlors or any other business that puts fliers in doorways, on stoops or attached to doorknobs and mailboxes might soon see fines starting at $250, according to a recently signed state ordinance. Dubbed the Anti-Flier Law, the ordinance states that property owners must first place a sign in a conspicuous location stating, “Do not place unsolicited advertising materials on this property.” Owner-occupants have authorization to post the sign in multiple-family dwellings of up to three housing units. In all other multifamily dwellings, the property owner may only post a sign if the owner or lessee of each separate unit within the property agrees to prohibit solicitations. Two Queens lawmakers – State Sen. Frank Padavan and Assembly-member Mark Weprin – introduced the bill, but several Brooklyn lawmakers signed onto it. “It’s finally a sign of the times: we are taking the doorsteps, stoops and walkways of our private homes back from the distributors who insist on using them for free advertising,” said Brooklyn Assemblymem-ber Dov Hikind, who co-authored the bill. “We are sending advertisers a message that private property, means just that, it’s private and we have a right to decline unsolicited advertising.” The law is not applicable to newspapers or political materials, he added. City Councilmember Simcha Felder said he introduced similar legislation in the City Council early last year. At the same time, the state introduced a similar bill that was passed August 15, 2007, but it lacked enforcement mechanisms, Felder said. So an amended state bill was introduced in which Felder found agreement so he decided not to pursue the city ordinance. The amended bill applies to all cities in the state with over one million people. The only city in the state with over a million people is New York City. Additionally, the amended provision gives the mayor authority to appoint an enforcement agency to ticket advertisers who continue to put fliers on private properties who post the sign. The sign must be on at least 5x7-inch paper and each letter must be at least one inch in size. Fines are levied at not less than $250 or more than $1,000 for each violation given but no more than $5,000 for the placement of materials on a single day. Each unauthorized placement of materials at a single location where the sign is posted will be considered a separate violation, according to the ordinance. Paid fines will go into city coffers. Gov. Eliot Spitzer signed the amended bill January 28, and it goes into affect 90 days after the signing. Bloomberg’s office did not return calls regarding which city agency will utilize to enforce the new ordinance. However, the city Department of Sanitation (DOS) has an enforcement unit that doles out summonses for illegal posters hung on public property throughout the city. DOS spokesperson Matt Lipani said the Bloomberg administration has yet to designate an agency for enforcement. In the meantime, Hikind’s office has printed up and made signs stating that fliers are prohibited. Property owners wishing to obtain the sign can call his office at (718) 853-9616.

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