By Kathy Kahn
Predatory “Realtors” who see Stony Point as the place to go knocking may think twice about disobeying Town law, particularly if they continue with their scare antics.
After an overflow crowd of citizens filled the RHO building two weeks ago for the initial public hearing on amending Stony Point’s peddler and solicitation law, the Board closed the written comment portion and voted on Tuesday night, April 11 to tack hefty fines onto those who appear on townsfolk’s doorsteps offering to “make a deal to get out while the getting’s good.”
The Town is now letting these predators know it’s going to cost them dearly to try “blockbusting” techniques in their community. For those uninvited “guests” who don’t take the Town seriously, they will be hit with an initial $2,500 fine for the first offense, with any subsequent offenses, raising the bar to a maximum of $10,000 by the fourth offense.
“Nobody deserves to be harassed at their home,” said Supervisor Jim Monaghan. “This is not to prevent your neighbor knocking at your door to tell you about a community event or Girl Scouts selling cookies…this law is being strengthened to discourage ‘Realtors’ using scare tactics to get people to sell out. I don’t think any resident should be forced to deal with that kind of harassment and intimidation.”
Stony Point’s action has been the strongest to date in the county to deter predatory real estate salespeople from forcing themselves upon unwilling homeowners. “A penalty starting at $2,500 and going up in $2,500 increments until it reaches the maximum of $10,000 is sending a strong message that these predators are not welcome in our town,” added Deputy Supervisor Tom Basile.
Stony Point is already working on creating the registry and will post information on the town’s website, as well as sending e-mails to its “Constant Contact” affiliations. In addition, Monaghan and council members plan to meet with seniors who may not have access to the Internet to let them know they need to no longer fear that unwanted knock on the door. The Board also asked for volunteers to help spread the word that “blockbusting” isn’t welcome in their town.
Monaghan also advised those at Tuesday’s meeting the Town will be issuing decals that make it crystal clear that homeowners do not want an unwanted visitor at their doorstep. “We already have an order at the printer for decals people can put on their door, and we’ll get the word out to every resident they can ‘opt out’ of being harassed and expect them to be available at Town Hall within a few weeks.”