‘Opting out’ of those pesky paper flyers – ‘Lawn Litter Law’ offers homeowners respite from unwelcome solicitations

By Lesley Grimm

Brooklyn residents who are fed up with unwanted advertisements cluttering up their stoops and doorsteps may now have a solution. A new state law bans companies from dumping circulars, menus and the like on private properties—but there is a catch. In order to “opt out,” homeowners must post a sign that states they do not want any unsolicited flyers. Businesses that ignore these warning signs can be fined between $250 and $1000, once New York City finalizes how it will enforce the new mandate. The so-called “Lawn Litter Law” was signed by Governor Eliot Spitzer on January 28. The city has 90 days from that date to determine how to impose the new rules. To help residents stem the flow of nuisance advertisements, several area politicians are distributing free official signs that can be placed on properties. The size of the signs and the size of the lettering meet the requirements of the new law. Councilmember Simcha Felder, who is among the local representatives distributing the “Do Not Place” signs, applauded Spitzer’s efforts to curb unwanted advertisements. “It’s a waste, it’s a mess, and it’s a threat to our quality of life,” Felder said in a recent statement to the press. “If businesses want to advertise, they can use the post office, take out ads in newspapers, or neatly pass out menus and fliers to homes that want them. Just keep their mess off everyone else’s property.” State Senator Martin Golden voted in favor of the new legislation and is also handing out signs. “I am making these signs available so that these companies are put on notice that at a specific address, these solicitations are unwanted,” Golden said in a statement. “These signs will help maintain our quality of life.” Golden has previously introduced legislation that banned flyers from being placed on car windshields. The proliferation of advertisements may also be a safety issue, according to Councilmember Vincent Gentile’s deputy chief of staff Joe Mancino. “If someone goes on vacation and marketers, menus and coupons pile up, then a criminal would know that that no one is home,” Mancino asserted at a recent Community Board 11 meeting. Mancino noted that concern over unwanted advertisements was a “very common complaint” that Gentile receives when walking through neighborhoods. At the same Community Board 11 meeting Mary Placanica, representing Assemblymember Bill Colton, encouraged residents to post the signs and then call 311 if the advertisements continued. “It’s very important that you post the signs where they are clearly visible,” Placanica said. Newspapers and mail are exempt from the new rules, established in New York State Law Chapter 585 of 2007. According to the state legislation, signs must read “Do Not Place Unsolicited Advertising Material on this Property.” Official signs can be obtained through any of the following locations: Assemblymember Bill Colton, 155 Kings Highway, Ph: 718-236-1598. State Senator Marty Golden, 7408 5th Avenue and 3610 Quentin Road, Ph: 718-238-6044 or 718-627-3659. Councilmember Vincent Gentile, 8703 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11209, Ph: 718-748-5200. Councilmember Simcha Felder, 4424 16th Avenue, Ph: 718-853-2704.

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