Township of Readington, NJ
Hunterdon County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Readington 4-7-1986. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Distribution of handbills — See Ch. 152.

§ 171-1 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the "Transient Merchant and Peddler Licensing Ordinance of the Township of Readington."

§ 171-2 Purpose.

This chapter is adopted to regulate the distribution of certain materials, peddling, soliciting and related activities within the Township of Readington. The registration of persons engaged in the above-mentioned activities is required so that the identity of persons going door to door or distributing materials within the township may be established, so that general regulations may be more effectively enforced for the protection and maintenance of the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the township and to prevent dishonest business practices and dishonest solicitation of funds in the township.

§ 171-3 Definitions and word usage.

A. 
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words are used herein and shall be considered to have the following meanings:
PEDDLER
Includes any person, whether a resident of the township or not, traveling on foot or by wagon, automobile or motor truck or any other type of conveyance from place to place, from house to house or from street to street and carrying, conveying or transporting goods, wares, merchandise, meats, fish, vegetables, fruit, food, ice cream, fruit ices, soda water, garden farm products or provisions; offering and exposing the same for sale; or making sales and delivering articles to purchasers. The word "peddler" shall include the words "hawker," "huckster" and "vendor."
PERSON
Any individual, firm, partnership, association, group of persons and/or corporation.
RESIDENCE
Includes every separate living unit occupied for residential purposes in which one or more persons reside within any type of building or structure.
SOLICITOR or CANVASSER
Any person, whether a resident of the township or not, traveling either on foot or by wagon, automobile, motor truck or any other type of conveyance from place to place, from house to house or from street to street, taking or attempting to take orders for the sale of goods, wares and merchandise or personal property of any nature whatsoever for future delivery or for services to be furnished or performed in the future, whether or not the individual has, carries or exposes for sale a sample of the item being offered for sale, with or without accepting an advance payment for the goods. The word "solicitor" or "canvasser" shall also include any person who may be taking a poll or survey from house to house or on the street or distributing advertisements or handbills.
B. 
All references to the masculine gender are merely for the purposes of convenience and shall not be construed otherwise.

§ 171-4 License required.

[Amended 8-21-1989 by Ord. No. 262-89]
Except as hereinafter provided in §§ 171-12 through 171-14, it shall be unlawful for any transient merchant, hawker, peddler, junk dealer, solicitor or canvasser to sell or offer to sell any goods, publications or services or to solicit money within the Township of Readington without first applying for, paying a registration fee and obtaining the requisite license from the township.

§ 171-5 License regulations. [1]

Upon obtaining a license as provided, a peddler, solicitor or transient merchant may conduct his activities within the township only so long as he adheres to the regulations set forth herein and carries the license upon his person conspicuously displayed at all times during the conduct of his activities. The license shall identify the person, the type of activity for which he has registered, a photograph on the license, the date of the validity of the license and the words "Licensed Peddler" in letters and figures easily discernible from a distance of 10 feet. Such badge shall, during the time such license is engaged in peddling or soliciting, be worn constantly by the licensee.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 171-6 Application for license; fee; Clerk's signature required; term of license.

A. 
Except as provided in §§ 171-12 through 171-14 herein, application for a license as a solicitor, canvasser or peddler shall be made to the Township Clerk of the Township of Readington, at the office of the Township Clerk during regular business hours. The applicant shall file a written application upon a form provided by the township in duplicate, which shall contain or be accompanied by the following data:
[Amended 8-21-1989 by Ord. No. 262-89]
(1) 
The name of the applicant and the permanent address of the merchant making the application; length of residence at such address; and business address if other than address listed. If the applicant is a firm or corporation, then the name and business and home addresses of the members of the firm or the offices of the corporation must be listed, as the case may be.
(2) 
If the applicant is a corporation, there shall be stated in the application form the date of incorporation, the state of incorporation and, if the applicant is a corporation formed in a state other than the State of New Jersey, the date on which such corporation qualified to transact business as a foreign corporation in the State of New Jersey.
(3) 
If the applicant has resided at his present address for less than three years, then the previous address of the applicant's residence during the past three years.
(4) 
If the applicant is employed, the name and address of the employer, together with credentials therefrom establishing the employment relationship therewith.
(5) 
A statement showing the kind of business proposed to be conducted, the length of time for which the applicant desires to transact such business and the location or locations of such proposed business operation. A description of the nature of the business shall include the commodities or services to be offered for sale or purchase.
(6) 
If a vehicle is to be used, a description thereof, including the state of registration, license plate number, the name and address of insurance carrier and the insurance policy number; goods are to be sold or orders taken therefor, the name and address where such goods are manufactured or produced and the proposed method of delivery.
(7) 
A complete physical description of the applicant.
(8) 
Three recent photographs of the applicant, passport size, which shall be approximately two inches by two inches, showing the head and shoulders of the applicant in a clear and distinguishable manner, taken within 60 days of the application for this license. Said photograph shall be affixed to the application.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
(9) 
Whether or not the applicant has ever had a license to conduct the business sought to be licensed and whether or not the applicant has ever had a license to conduct said business denied or revoked in the Township of Readington. If so, set forth the particulars and details thereof.
(10) 
A statement as to whether or not the applicant for this license has ever been convicted of any crime, misdemeanor or violation of any municipal ordinance of this state or any other state or a federal law of the United States, except traffic violations and, if so, the nature of the offense and the punishment or penalty assessed therefor.
(11) 
A set of the applicant's fingerprints on the standard form used by the various police forces of the State of New Jersey. Said fingerprints shall be taken by the Readington Township police. Pursuant to New Jersey Statutes Annotated Title 53, Chapter 1, Article 2, and supplements thereto, no license shall be issued until the application is approved by the Township Clerk and the Chief of Police, allowing adequate time for investigation of the facts set forth in the application. This provision shall not apply to activities or organizations outlined in §§ 171-12 through 171-14 of this chapter.
B. 
Applications for partners shall be signed by all partners with the foregoing provisions of this section answered in detail as to each partner. Application of the corporation shall have attached thereto individual statements, in accordance with all of the provisions of this section relating to every employee, agent or servant who shall engage in any of the functions authorized by this chapter, so that each person must comply with this chapter.
C. 
A fee of $25 shall accompany the application for this license, and said fee shall constitute the license fee until said license is terminated or revoked in accordance with this chapter. Said fee shall not be refundable and shall be used to defray the cost of investigating and processing this application.
D. 
Each license issued shall bear the signature of the Township Clerk in the absence of any provision to the contrary.
E. 
All licenses shall terminate one year from the date of issuance thereof.

§ 171-7 Approval or rejection of applications. [1]

A. 
Following the filing of the application with the Township Clerk, the Clerk shall forward a copy of the application to the Chief of Police, who shall immediately investigate the applicant's prior activities in order to determine his responsibility, character and ability to properly conduct the licensed activity without harm to the public welfare. The Chief of Police shall communicate his findings in writing and recommend approval or denial of a license to the Township Clerk within 10 days after the application has been filed. If the Chief of Police determines, pursuant to the criteria enumerated in § 171-9, that the applicant's record is such that the applicant cannot reasonably be presumed to be able to conduct properly the licensed activity without harm to the public, the Chief of Police shall notify the Clerk, who shall refuse to issue the license and who shall so notify the applicant in writing pursuant to § 171-8.
B. 
In the event that it appears to the Township Clerk and the Chief of Police that all the necessary information has been provided and that no impediment exists to the issuance of this license, the Clerk shall issue the license forthwith within 15 days after such notification by the Chief of Police, provided that the required license fees have been paid. All licenses issued under this chapter shall authorize only the person named in said license to engage in the business designated therein. Said license shall not be transferable from the person to whom issued to any other person. A separate license shall be obtained for every servant, agent or employee of a person, notwithstanding that said person shall be licensed hereunder.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 171-8 Notice and hearing for denial of license.

A. 
Notice of the denial of license shall be given in writing by the Township Clerk. The notice shall specifically set forth the grounds on which denial is based. It shall be served by mailing a copy to the licensee at the address listed on his application by certified mail, return receipt requested, within five days of denial of the application.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
B. 
An applicant who has been denied a license shall have the right to appeal such denial to the Township Committee by filing a written notice of said appeal with the Township Clerk within 10 days after notification. The notice of appeal shall include a request for an appeal hearing before the Township Committee.
C. 
At the hearing, the licensee shall have the right to appear and be heard, to present evidence, to be represented by an attorney and to make a permanent record made of the proceedings at his own expense. The Township Committee may deny the license of the applicant if it is satisfied by a preponderance of the evidence that the license should not be issued. The determination of the Township Committee shall be conclusive. No person whose license has been denied shall receive any partial or total refund of the license/application fee.

§ 171-9 Causes for denial, revocation or suspension of license. [1]

All licenses issued under this chapter may be denied, revoked or suspended by the Chief of Police or the Mayor and the Township Committee for any of the following causes:
A. 
Misrepresentation or false statement contained in the application.
B. 
Misrepresentation or false statement made in the course of carrying on the activities herein.
C. 
Conviction of a crime or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude.
D. 
Conducting the licensed permitted business in an unlawful manner and violation of this chapter, state or federal statute or regulation or in such manner as to cause breach of the peace, to create a nuisance or to constitute a menace to the health, safety or general welfare of the public.
E. 
A determination by the Chief of Police, after investigation, that the applicant's character of business responsibility is unsatisfactory.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 171-10 Notice and hearing for revocation or suspension of license.

A. 
In the event that a license is revoked or suspended by the Clerk of the Township of Readington, the Township Committee or the Chief of Police, said licensee shall be notified in the same manner as set forth in § 171-8A. Such person shall have the right to appeal to the Township Committee, provided that a written notice of the appeal, setting forth the request for an appeal hearing and the basis of the appeal, is made in writing and filed with Township Clerk or Mayor of the township within 10 days after the revocation or suspension of a license. The decision of the Township Committee on such appeal shall be final and conclusive.
B. 
At the hearing, the licensee shall have the right to appear and be heard, to present evidence, to be represented by an attorney, to present witnesses in his own behalf, to cross-examine opposing witnesses and to make a permanent record of the proceeding at his own expense. The Township Committee may revoke or suspend a license if it is satisfied, by the preponderance of the evidence, that the licensee is guilty of the acts charged. No person whose license has been suspended or revoked shall be entitled to a refund of the application fee in whole or in part.
C. 
The Township Clerk may issue another license to a person whose license has been revoked or suspended as provided in this section if, at any time after the initial hearing, the Township Clerk is satisfied by clear and convincing evidence that the acts which led to the revocation or suspension are not likely to occur again. The Clerk may make rules and regulations for the purpose of administering the provisions of this section. No regulation shall be inconsistent with or alter or amend any provision of this chapter, and no regulation shall impose any requirement which is in addition to or greater than the requirements that are expressly or by implication proposed by any provision of this chapter. Such regulation shall take effect no less than 10 days after being filed by the Township Committee.

§ 171-11 General regulations.

A. 
All circulars, samples or other matters shall be handed to an occupant of the property and not left on or about the same.
B. 
No person or license holder shall peddle, solicit or distribute merchandise except between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. or sunset, whichever occurs earlier, unless specifically having been invited to a dwelling by an occupant thereof or having previously made an appointment with said occupant. This provision shall not apply to activities or organizations outlined in § 171-14 of this chapter.
[Amended 8-21-1989 by Ord. No. 262-89[1]]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
C. 
No person or license holder shall attempt to peddle, solicit or distribute merchandise or printed material without first having identified himself as a peddler, solicitor or distributor registered with the township and without carrying his license conspicuously on his outer garment during solicitation.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
D. 
No solicitor or peddler shall have an exclusive right to any location on the public streets or operated in any congested area in such a manner as to impede the flow of traffic or of pedestrians or create a breach of peace. The judgment of a police officer, exercised in good faith, shall be deemed conclusive as to whether the area is congested and whether the public impeded or inconvenienced.
E. 
No solicitor or peddler shall enter or attempt to enter the land of any resident in the township where such resident has posted a notice prohibiting such entry.
F. 
No solicitor or peddler shall refuse to leave any private dwelling or property after having once been requested to do so by the owner or occupant thereof.
G. 
No solicitor or peddler shall shout, cry out, blow a horn, ring a bell or use any sound-making or -amplifying device upon any of the streets, parks or public places of the township or upon private premises where sound is sufficient or where volume is emitted or produced therefrom to be capable of being plainly heard upon private premises, for the purpose of attracting attention to any merchandise or services, without first obtaining written authorization for the same from the appropriate township official.
H. 
No solicitor or peddler shall distribute obscene merchandise or printed material or that which advocates unlawful conduct.
I. 
No solicitor or peddler shall litter the streets, public places or public or private property within the township with any merchandise or printed material.
J. 
Except as hereinabove provided, all general regulations hereunder shall be applicable to organizations canvassing or soliciting in connection with a political campaign, charitable or religious activities or any activity related to soliciting support for a public issue or question.
[Added 8-21-1989 by Ord. No. 262-89]

§ 171-12 Exceptions.

No requirement of this chapter shall be construed to abrogate the special rights and privileges of:
A. 
Federal census takers or duly authorized takers of federal, state or local governmental surveys, none of whom shall be required to comply with this chapter.
B. 
Officers or employers of the township, county, state or federal government when on official business.
C. 
Any person soliciting votes or support for any bona fide political candidate seeking public office, including primary elections; any activity or conduct connected with or relating to voter registration; or any conduct or activity relating to the expressing of opinion in or soliciting support for any political candidacy or public issue or question.

§ 171-13 Exemptions from fees.

A. 
The following persons are exempt from the payment of a fee and, in the discretion of the Chief of Police, are exempted from investigation procedures upon compliance with all other provisions of this chapter and submission of applicable identification documents to support their claim of exemption:
(1) 
Any person who is domiciled within the township and who is a solicitor or canvasser on behalf of any religious, educational or charitable corporation, organization, association or society created for nonpecuniary profit or who is a solicitor or canvasser on behalf of any local fraternal organization having its principal membership within the township or any local charitable or civic organization, association or society. Any religious, education or charitable corporation, organization, association or society approved by the Internal Revenue Department of the United States for income tax deduction for contributions thereto or local charity or organization or civic association or society approved by a Chamber of Commerce serving the township or the immediate area contiguous thereto shall presumably be considered to be qualified as the type of corporation, organization, association or society for whom a person domiciled within the township may solicit or canvass and be exempt from the application of this chapter.
(2) 
Any charitable or religious organization or society which is recognized as tax-exempt under the United States Internal Revenue Code that shall conduct sales of personal property where the proceeds thereof shall be applied to the payment of the expenses thereof and to the charitable or religious objects for which the society exists.
(3) 
Any person honorably discharged from the military service of the United States possessing a special state license in conformity with N.J.S.A. 45:24-9 and 45:24-10. Said veteran shall be required to procure from the Township Clerk a special veteran's permit to be issued after the production of proper identification.
(4) 
Any person who is an exempt fireman of a volunteer fire department as defined by N.J.S.A. 45:24-9 and 45:24-10, possessing a license in conformity with said law.
(5) 
Any public utility or its employees with said public utility which is subject to regulation by the State Board of Public Utility Commissioners; provided, however, that such employees shall display the identification badge or card issued by their employer.
(6) 
Any person selling fruits and farm products grown by themselves, with or without the help of others.
(7) 
Any person engaged in the delivery of goods, wages or merchandise or other articles or things, in the regular course of business, to the premises of persons who have previously ordered the same or were entitled to receive the same by reason of a prior agreement.
(8) 
Sales at wholesale to retail merchants by commercial travelers or selling agents in the usual course of business.
(9) 
Wholesale trade shows and/or conventions.
(10) 
Sale of goods, wares or merchandise by sample catalog by brochure for future delivery.
(11) 
Retail or sale of ice cream and/or flavored water ice by motor vehicle during the summer months.
(12) 
Any general sale, fair, auction or bazaar sponsored by any civic, fraternal, educational or religious organization.
(13) 
Garage sales held on the premises devoted to residential use.
(14) 
Sales of crafts or items made by hand and sold or offered for sale by the person making such crafts or handmade items.
(15) 
Any new home construction contractor, residential developer, master plumber or electrical contractor who is licensed or regulated by any state, county or municipal agency, division, department or professional board and any contractor of home improvements as defined in N.J.A.C. 13:45A-16.1, who, in the normal course of business, advertises or performs his services in the Township of Readington, provides any such trades and complies with all state, county and municipal regulations enforceable by the Township Construction Code Officials.
(16) 
The sale of produce, flowers or other agricultural products from buildings or from roadside stands, which premises in question are owned by the farmer; and nothing herein shall prohibit the sale of agricultural products on land owned by the farmer unless prohibited by the Readington Township Land Development Ordinance.[1]
(17) 
Persons delivering milk, eggs, bread, newspapers or such other necessary and perishable articles of food or merchandise or services of the type commonly delivered on a house-to-house basis at intervals of less than one week.
B. 
If any person, organization or corporation not included on this list has reason to believe that it is exempt from the provisions of this chapter, it has the right to apply to the Readington Township Clerk for a certification of exemption, which shall be granted by the Clerk if he or she is satisfied that the person, organization or corporation is exempt. This provision is not to be construed as requiring a certificate of exemption in all cases, since it is a discretionary application to clarify the exempt status for the benefit of the applicant.
C. 
In the event that the Township Clerk has a question as to whether particular application is exempt, the Township Clerk shall refer the applicant to the Township Committee for decision on whether or not it is exempt. If the Township Committee finds that the applicant is exempt, it shall authorize the Township Clerk to issue a certificate of exemption.
D. 
A transient merchant not otherwise exempt from the provisions of this chapter shall not be relieved or exempted from the provisions of this chapter by reason of associating himself temporarily with any local dealer, auctioneer, trader, contractor or merchant or by conducting such temporary or transient business in connection with or in the name of any local dealer, auctioneer, trader, contractor or merchant.

§ 171-14 Canvassing or soliciting for political campaign or religious organization.

A. 
Any person canvassing or soliciting in connection with a political campaign or charitable or religious organization or society or any representative of such organization or society recognized as tax-exempt under the United States Internal Revenue Code, when such canvassing or solicitation does not involve the sale or attempted sale of merchandise, shall, at least 24 hours prior to such canvassing or solicitation, present himself to the office of the Chief of Police and shall provide said Chief of Police with the following information:
(1) 
The nature and anticipated duration of such canvassing or solicitation.
(2) 
The approximate number of persons who will be canvassing or soliciting.
(3) 
The name and address of the person in charge of such canvassing or solicitation.
(4) 
The full name and address of the political, charitable or religious organization on behalf of which such solicitation or canvassing is to be conducted.
(5) 
The names, to the extent known, of the persons who are expected to go door to door or to distribute materials within the township.
B. 
The purpose of such registration is that the identity of persons going door to door or distributing materials within the township may be established for the protection and maintenance, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the township and to prevent this kind of solicitation of funds within the township. No license or fees shall be required.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
C. 
It shall be the duty of the Township Clerk to keep a current calendar of nonprofit solicitations to be conducted with the township. Since simultaneous solicitation by different groups causes a burden to the Police Department and to the Township Clerk's office and may cause confusion and inconvenience to the public if entities of similar names solicit simultaneously for similar purposes, applicants shall be scheduled in the order of the date of their application, except that no applicant can file before January 1 of the year to which the solicitation license is sought. In the event that an applicant is granted a particular schedule of dates and thereafter one or more applicants apply for the same dates, the Clerk shall seek to determine if granting the subsequent applicant the schedule of dates applied for will be likely to cause the presence of more solicitors at one time or place than can reasonably be overseen by the township personnel or will be likely to cause confusion on the part of the public because of the similarity of the names and/or purposes of the entities soliciting. If the Clerk finds that either of the above circumstances exists, the subsequent applicant shall be granted a schedule of dates not in conflict with the dates first filed, but as close to the dates applied for by the subsequent applicants as is feasible.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
D. 
Any person canvassing or soliciting in connection with a political campaign, social/political organization or charitable or religious organization or society, or any representative of such organization or society recognized as tax-exempt under the United State Internal Revenue Code, when such canvassing or solicitation does not involve the sale or attempt of sale of merchandise shall be permitted to solicit or canvass between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., unless specifically having been invited to a dwelling by an occupant thereof or having previously made an appointment with said occupant at an hour different from that above-stated.
[Added 8-21-1989 by Ord. No. 262-89]

§ 171-15 Violations and penalties. [1]

Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine not exceeding $1,000, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 90 days and/or a period of community services not exceeding 90 days. In addition, failure to comply with the terms and provisions of this chapter may subject the licensee to suspension or revocation of license to the sections enumerated above.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).

§ 171-16 Enforcement.

It is the duty of the Readington Township Police Department and Township Construction Code Officials to enforce the provisions of this chapter.