Rockland mulls banning fundraising tollbooths

Posted June 28, 2012, at 2:41 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Faced with an increasing number of requests by organizations to set up fundraising tollbooths on public streets, the Rockland City Council will consider a ban.

The proposed ordinance would prohibit them in the street but allow, with a city permit, signs or people on the sides of streets to direct people to locations where donations can be accepted from motorists.

The city has received, and approved, four requests since April for tollbooths on Broadway by the former MacDougal School. The people operating the booths will stand in the center of the road to collect donations for various causes.

The Maine Vocational Rehabilitation Associates held one Saturday, April 21, to benefit the Maine Special Olympics. The American Legion Riders held one Saturday, May 19. The Maine Elks held one Saturday, June 23, for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program. And the Rockland Professional Firefighters held one the following day — Sunday, June 24 — to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

The ordinance proposal will be discussed by the council Monday evening when it meets to set the agenda for the July 9 meeting. If given preliminary approval July 9, a formal public hearing and final vote would be held Aug. 13 and the law would take effect 30 days from that date.

Rockland Mayor Brian Harden said Thursday that safety has been the chief concern.

“These tollbooths often involve kids and they dart in and out of traffic to collect the money,” Harden said.

He said some people also will speed up to get by the tollbooth and he believes this puts the participants at risk of injury.

The mayor said he also does not like that traffic is actually stopped during these fundraising events. Broadway, where the tollbooths are generally held, is one of Rockland’s most heavily traveled roads.

The council will consider an ordinance to allow fundraisers to direct traffic from the side of the road with people and signs to go to a spot where they can donate, he said. As an example, he said, Oceanside High School East is on Broadway and motorists could be directed up its driveway to the parking lot for donations.

“It’s not much different than what we allow now,” he said.

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