Town of Westminster, MA
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting 5-3-1997 by Art. 39. This article also provided for the repeal of former Ch. 141, Peddling and Soliciting, adopted by the STM 10-25-1993 by Art. 16. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Garage sales — See Ch. 110.
Permits to delinquent taxpayers — See Ch. 131, Art. I.
Secondhand dealers — See Ch. 157.
Roadway stands — See Ch. 173, Art. III.

§ 141-1 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms have the meanings indicated:
BONA FIDE RELIGIOUS, CHARITABLE, EDUCATIONAL OR POLITICAL ORGANIZATION
Any organization that is qualified under state or federal law as a tax exempt, nonprofit organization or any organization or group that espouses or advocates a position or belief on any subject of public interest or on behalf of any candidate for public office.
CANVASS
To call upon persons to elicit or determine opinions, feelings, sentiments or information of any nature.
SOLICITING AND CANVASSING
Whenever used in the written bylaw, includes all activities outlined in the permit required section of this chapter.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See § 141-2, Permit required.

§ 141-2 Permit required.

No person, firm or corporation shall canvass, solicit, distribute circulars or other matter or call from house to house in the Town of Westminster to sell, promote the sale of or attempt to sell goods by sample or to take or attempt to take orders for the future delivery of goods, merchandise, wares or any property, personal or real, of any nature whatsoever, or take or attempt to take orders for services to be furnished or performed presently or in the future or collect or attempt to collect contributions for any purpose without first having obtained a written permit from the Chief of Police of the Town of Westminster.

§ 141-3 Exemptions.

A. 
Any person, firm or corporation soliciting or canvassing on behalf of a bona fide religious, charitable or political organization shall be exempt from the requirements of this chapter, except for the hours of solicitation and the requirements hereinafter provided in § 141-13, below.
B. 
Any person, firm or corporation delivering goods or performing services which have previously been ordered by the person owning, leasing or occupying the property where such delivery is made or service performed shall be exempt from the requirements of this chapter.
C. 
Any person, firm or corporation calling upon or soliciting from commercial establishments located in the Town of Westminster shall be exempt from the requirements of this chapter.
D. 
Any minor employed by a newspaper as a carrier, or who has been previously registered with the Chief of Police by employing newspaper, shall be exempt from the requirements of this chapter.

§ 141-4 Applications.

A. 
Any person seeking a permit to engage in any activity set forth in § 141-2, except those exempt under § 141-3, shall file an application with the Chief of Police on a form issued by him no less than seven working days prior to the request start date for such canvassing or solicitation.
B. 
The application form shall require the following information:
(1) 
The name of the applicant.
(2) 
The address of the applicant (local and permanent address).
(3) 
The applicant's date of birth.
(4) 
The applicant's height, weight, eye and hair color.
(5) 
The applicant's social security number.
(6) 
The length of time for which the right to do business is desired.
(7) 
A brief description of the nature of the business and the goods to be sold.
(8) 
The name and home office address of the applicant's employer; if self-employed, it shall so state.
(9) 
If operating a motor vehicle, the year, make, color, model, registration number, registered state, vehicle owner and address.
(10) 
Whether the applicant has been convicted of a crime or offense or violation of any bylaw relating to canvassing or soliciting and, if so, when, where and the nature of the offense.
(11) 
The names of other municipalities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where the applicant has been issued a permit to solicit in the past two years.
C. 
All applicants under this section shall be fingerprinted and photographed by the Westminster Chief of Police.

§ 141-5 Denial or revocation of permit.

A. 
Any applicant who fails to fully comply with the requisites established for issuance of a permit shall be denied a permit.
B. 
Any falsification of information required to be provided in the application process shall result in denial or immediate revocation of the applicant's permit.
C. 
Any failure to comply with the other provisions of this chapter shall result in immediate revocation of the permittee's permit.
D. 
Any failure of a permittee to prominently display his permit upon his person when soliciting shall result in immediate revocation of the permit.

§ 141-6 Hours and days of solicitation.

It shall be unlawful for any person to peddle or solicit before the hour of 8:30 a.m. of any day or after the hour of 8:30 p.m. of any day, except by appointment.

§ 141-7 Issuance of permit.

The Chief of Police shall issue all permits within 48 hours of the time when an applicant has completed the requisites set forth in the applications section.[1] In computing the forty-eight-hour period, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays shall be excluded.
[1]
Editor's Note: See § 141-4, Applications.

§ 141-8 Permit fee; term.

Each applicant for a permit shall pay a fee of $10. The permit shall expire as set forth on each permit but in no case shall it exceed one year from the date of its issue, unless earlier revoked.

§ 141-9 Permit not transferable.

No permit shall be transferable. In the case of a firm or corporation, each person representing such firm or corporation shall be issued a separate permit.

§ 141-10 Certain representations are prohibited.

No person, firm or organization having received a permit to canvass or solicit within the Town of Westminster shall use or exploit the fact of the permit so as to lead the public to believe that such permit in any manner constitutes an endorsement or approval by the town or any of its officials.

§ 141-11 Authority of Chief of Police.

The Chief of Police of the Town of Westminster shall have the power and authority to grant, deny or revoke permits, as provided for and in accordance with the terms of this chapter.

§ 141-12 Violations and penalties.

Any person, firm or corporation charged with violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be liable for a fine not exceeding $300 for each violation. Each day on which a violation exists shall constitute a separate violation.

§ 141-13 Religious, charitable, educational or political solicitors and canvassers.

A. 
Any person, firm or corporation soliciting or canvassing on behalf of a bona fide religious, charitable, educational or political organization, as defined in this chapter, shall, prior to such solicitation or canvassing, file with the Chief of Police a completed application in the form provided.
B. 
The application shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The name and address of the firm, corporation or organization represented by the individual solicitor, when applicable.
(2) 
The name, address and telephone number of the person in charge of such organization to be contacted in case of emergency.
(3) 
The name, address (both temporary and permanent), telephone number, social security number and date of birth of all individual solicitors who will be soliciting or canvassing within the Town of Westminster.
(4) 
Whether the applicant has been convicted of a crime or offense or violation of any bylaw relating to canvassing or soliciting and, if so, when, where and the nature of the offense; names of other municipalities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where the applicant has been issued a permit to solicit in the past two years.
(5) 
Whether any motor vehicles will be used in connection with the canvassing or soliciting and, if so, the make, year, color, type and license plate number.
(6) 
Nature of any goods or services to be sold for the purpose of the solicitations or canvassing.
C. 
Such application shall be filed with the Chief of Police at least seven days prior to the time when such soliciting or canvassing shall take place.
D. 
Upon completion of the requirements set forth in Subsections A, B and C above, the Chief of Police shall issue a permit to the applicant.
E. 
Each solicitor or canvasser shall be issued a permit by the Chief of Police. The permit shall be available to be picked up from the Chief of Police of the Town of Westminster. Each permittee shall prominently display the permit upon his person whenever such permittee is engaged in canvassing or soliciting. No permit shall be transferable.
F. 
Failure to comply with the requisites established for issuance of a permit, falsification of any information required to be provided, failure to properly display the permit issued or soliciting or canvassing during the prohibited hours shall result in denial or immediate revocation of the applicant's permit.

§ 141-14 Action by Chief of Police regarding revocation, denial or suspension of permit.

The Chief of Police is hereby vested with jurisdiction over the revocation or suspension of licenses which he may exercise for cause. Any person whose license has been revoked shall have the right of appeal to the Board of Selectmen.

§ 141-15 Candidates for political office exempt.

Any candidate for public office or person campaigning on behalf of such a candidate, where such candidate is seeking election to an office to be voted upon by the residents of the Town of Westminster who are duly registered to vote in elections in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, shall be exempt from the requirements of this chapter.