by the First Amendment. Commercial speech is entitled to such protection, and there is absolutely no indication nor even any allegation that the publication does not concern lawful activity or that it is misleading. See Id.
As justification for the ordinance, defendant asserts that it is necessary in order to prevent crime on residential property. According to defendant the presence of advertising material, which has been left on, but not removed from a mailbox, step, porch, sidewalk or lawn, is a signal to would-be criminals that a residence is apparently unoccupied at the moment. This governmental interest in protecting the public from crime is of course substantial. See, Hynes v. Mayor and Council of Borough of Oradell, 425 U.S. 610, 616-19, 96 S. Ct. 1755, 1758-60, 48 L. Ed. 2d 243 (1976); Martin v. City of Struthers, 319 U.S. 141, 144, 63 S. Ct. 862, 863, 87 L. Ed. 1313 (1943).
We consider next the relationship between the ordinance and the state's interests. We conclude that the accumulation of advertising materials at a residence poses significant risks to the public, as it is a clear invitation to burglars and vandals to enter apparently unoccupied premises. See, Commonwealth v. Sterlace, 481 Pa. 6, 12, 391 A.2d 1066, 1069 (1978).
We reject the plaintiff's argument that this link between the regulation and the state's interest is forged upon a mere unfounded possibility. The testimony of Doylestown Police Lieutenant White amply supports the connection between unoccupied residences and increased burglaries and vandalism.
By prohibiting the distribution of advertising material without consent, the ordinance will reduce the amount of printed material which can accumulate at a residence, thereby diminishing the risk of attracting criminals. It, therefore, directly advances the stated governmental interest.
We address now the critical inquiry in this case: whether the ordinance is more extensive than is necessary to serve the asserted governmental interest. We conclude that it is not.
The Doylestown ordinance is clearly circumscribed in scope and effect. It specifically applies only to advertising material, and prohibits only a certain manner of distribution made without the consent of the intended recipient. It does not affect any non-commercial expression, such as political speech, and does not prevent distribution of advertising materials by other means with the consent of the intended recipient. The requirement that the consent of owners or occupiers of township residences be secured before advertising materials can be left on their property does not unduly burden the free speech rights of those who would distribute such materials. Reasonable time, place, or manner regulations that serve a significant governmental interest and leave ample alternative channels for communication have long been recognized as valid. Consolidated Edison Co., Inc. v. Public Service Commission of New York, 447 U.S. 530, 100 S. Ct. 2326, 65 L. Ed. 2d 319 (1978); see, e.g. Cox v. New Hampshire, 312 U.S. 569, 61 S. Ct. 762, 85 L. Ed. 1049 (1941) (parade license and fee requirement held constitutional).
The ordinance at issue is identical to the one held valid by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Commonwealth v. Sterlace, 481 Pa. 6, 391 A.2d 1066 (1978). The court there found the ordinance clearly distinguishable from those which ban all solicitation or distribution of handbills or printed materials for an insufficient reason, see, e.g., Schneider v. State, 308 U.S. 147, 60 S. Ct. 146, 84 L. Ed. 155 (1939), or eliminate a traditional forum of speech and leave limited alternatives of increased expense reaching a significantly decreased audience, see, e.g., Linmark Associates, Inc. v. Township of Willingboro, 431 U.S. 85, 97 S. Ct. 1614, 52 L. Ed. 2d 155 (1977) (prohibition of "for sale" signs on front lawns). 481 Pa. at 13, 391 A.2d at 1070.
Significantly, there is no limitation or infringement imposed upon the opportunity of plaintiff or other disseminators of protected commercial expression to solicit potential recipients of advertising materials in order to attempt to win their consent. See, Martin v. City of Struthers, 319 U.S. 141, 147, 63 S. Ct. 862, 865, 87 L. Ed. 1313 (1943) (ban on door-to-door solicitation held invalid as applied to distribution of religious material); but see, Breard v. City of Alexandria, 341 U.S. 622, 71 S. Ct. 920, 95 L. Ed. 1233 (1951) (ban on door-to-door commercial solicitation held valid, but case decided before Court's recognition, see, e.g., Central Hudson, that First Amendment protection extends to commercial speech), and Hynes v. Mayor and Council of Borough of Oradell, 425 U.S. at 619, 96 S. Ct. at 1760 (door-to-door solicitation "not immune from regulation under the state's police power").
Plaintiff's reliance on Van Nuys Publishing Co. v. City of Thousand Oaks, 5 Cal.3d 817, 97 Cal. Rptr. 777, 489 P.2d 809 (1971) is of no avail. The ordinance in that case, held unconstitutional, was similar to the one promulgated by Doylestown in that it required consent before various printed matter could be distributed on the grounds of a house, but unlike the Doylestown ordinance, was not limited solely to a ban on distribution of advertising materials, but applied as well to the distribution of political materials. Additionally, and also in contrast to the Doylestown ordinance, its asserted purpose was merely to reduce litter and protect unwilling listeners, goals equally served by a more narrowly drawn provision.
In the case sub judice, a more limited regulation simply would not be effective to achieve the governmental objective of preventing crime by regulating the accumulation of materials which create the appearance that a residence is unoccupied. For example, we can postulate a regulation which would require owners or occupiers of residences to affirmatively object before distribution of advertising materials could be prohibited. However, residents who are not at home at the time of an attempted delivery of a publication, such as plaintiffs, would be unable to object to its receipt until some later time. Yet, during that interval before objection could be made, material would accumulate at the residence and thereby serve to signal its vulnerability and to invite criminal activity. In contrast, where an owner or occupier of a residence has expressed a desire to receive advertising materials, as required by the Doylestown ordinance, the risk of burglary or vandalism is greatly reduced, for the resident will know of the delivery and can collect the materials before they accumulate. See, Commonwealth v. Sterlace, 481 Pa. at 12, 391 A.2d at 1069. If a resident will be away from home, arrangements can be made for another to remove them before they accumulate, just as arrangements are commonly made for a neighbor to collect the mail of an absent fellow resident.