Wicomico County, MD
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of County Commissioners (now County Council) of Wicomico County 4-28-1959 by Ord. No. 14; amended in its entirety 10-19-1999 by Bill No. 1999-15. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Peddlers — See Ch. 180.
Transient merchants — See Ch. 213.
Vagrants — See Ch. 218.
Signs — See Ch. 225, Zoning, Art. XIX.
Pursuant to the power and authority vested in the County Council of Wicomico County under Subsection B of Section 22A and Section 22 of Article 23 of the Code of Public Local Laws of Maryland (1930 Edition), same being Chapter 376 of the Acts of the General Assembly of Maryland, 1945, the following regulations and provisions are hereby adopted with respect to licensing and regulating the practice of fortune-telling when not practiced by recognized religious bodies or ordained ministers and the right to refuse to license any or all of them.
The term "fortune-telling" shall mean the practice of revealing the past, present or future fortune or events of anyone's life, or furnishing any information not otherwise obtainable by the ordinary processes of knowledge, by means of any occult or psychic power or faculty or force, clairvoyance, cartomancy, phrenology, spirits, mediumship, seership, prophecy, augury, astrology, palmistry, necromancy, mind-reading, telepathy or other craft, science, cards, talisman, charms, potions, magnetism, magnetized articles or substances, oriental mysteries or magic of any kind or nature or numerology, including revealing a person's character or personality characteristics by means of the analysis of handwriting, for pay or compensation.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
No person shall conduct, engage in, carry on, participate in or practice fortune-telling or cause the same to be done for any direct or indirect charge, gift, donation or subscription by any means whatsoever without having first obtained a fortune-telling permit from the Director of Administration.
A. 
Each applicant for a fortune-telling permit under this chapter shall file, in duplicate, with the Director of Administration of the county a written, sworn application therefor, signed by the applicant, to assist in confirming background information 60 days prior to a permit being issued.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
B. 
The application shall show the following:
(1) 
The full, true name, including all aliases, by which the applicant is or has ever been known;
(2) 
The driver's license and social security cards issued to the applicant;
(3) 
The present address and telephone number of the applicant's residence and business locations;
(4) 
The previous addresses of the applicant, if any, for a period of five years immediately prior to the date of the application and dates of residence at each;
(5) 
The applicant's height, weight, color of eyes and hair and date and place of birth;
(6) 
Two photographs of the applicant, taken within 60 days immediately prior to the date of the filing of the application, which picture shall be two by two inches, showing the head and shoulders of the applicant in a clear and distinguishing manner;
(7) 
The business, occupation or employment history of the applicant for five years immediately preceding the date of application;
(8) 
The fortune-telling or similar business license or permit history of the applicant, including:
(a) 
Whether such person has previously operated in this or another city, county or state under license or permit.
(b) 
Whether such person has had such license or permit revoked or suspended and the reason therefor.
(c) 
The business activity or occupation of such person subsequent to such action of suspension or revocation.
(9) 
A statement as to whether or not the applicant has been convicted of any crime, misdemeanor or violation of any federal, state or local law, the nature of the offense and the punishment or penalty assessed therefor;
(10) 
The fingerprints of the applicant taken by the Sheriff's office;
(11) 
The address of the proposed location for the conduct of the proposed profession, art or business of fortune-telling;
(12) 
The exact nature of the services to be provided; and
(13) 
Such other identification and information as reasonably may be required in order to discover the truth of the matters hereinbefore specified as required to be set forth in the application.
C. 
The Director of Administration shall retain and file one copy of such application and shall forward the second copy thereof to the Sheriff.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
Upon receipt of an application, as referred to in § 151-4, the Sheriff shall cause such investigation of the applicant's business and moral character and of the facts stated in and the contents of such application to be made as he deems necessary for the protection of the public good.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
At the conclusion of the investigation, approval of an applicant for a permit required by this chapter and upon payment of the required fee, the Director of Administration shall approve the issuance of the permit if he shall find:
A. 
The information contained in the application or supporting data is true;
B. 
The applicant has not, within the previous five years, been convicted of any violation of this chapter or any law relating to dishonesty, fraud, deceit or moral turpitude;
C. 
The applicant agrees to abide by and comply with all terms of the permit and applicable laws of the county and State of Maryland;
D. 
That the business, as proposed by the applicant, if permitted, would comply with all applicable laws, including zoning;
E. 
No information has been brought to the attention of the Director of Administration as a result of the investigation which would require the denial of such permit; and
F. 
That the applicant conforms to all applicable federal, state and county laws.
A. 
If the Director of Administration, following investigation of the applicant, deems that the applicant does not fulfill the requirements as set forth in this chapter, he shall deny the application and shall notify the applicant by certified mail of such denial, within 60 days of the date of application.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
B. 
Any applicant who is denied a permit may appeal such denial to the Board of Appeals. Such appeal shall be taken by filing with the Secretary to the Board of Appeals, within 14 days after notice of denial, a written statement setting forth fully the grounds for the appeal.
[Amended 7-6-2004 by Bill No. 2004-6]
A. 
Permits shall be issued for the period of one year from June 1 to May 31 in each and every year, unless sooner suspended or revoked.
B. 
Permits may be renewed for a period of not to exceed one year on written application to the Director of Administration of the county made at least 60 days prior to the expiration date of the current valid permit. The application for renewal shall contain all of the information required by § 151-4 of this chapter and shall be processed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
C. 
Any permittee transacting and carrying on business at a fixed place of business in the county shall display at all times during business hours the permit issued pursuant to the provisions of this chapter in a conspicuous place so that the same may be readily seen by all persons entering the place of business.
A. 
The permit fee required to be paid at the time of the issuance of any permit under this chapter shall cover a period of one year from June 1 to the succeeding May 31 and shall be the sum of $1,000.
B. 
No permit fees will be prorated, either upon application or upon cancellation, whether voluntary or otherwise.
C. 
No license issued hereunder shall be transferable, either to another person for the same premises or to other premises by the applicant to whom issued.
It is unlawful for the holder of any license issued under this chapter to practice fortune-telling pursuant to such license at any location other than that described in the license issued to him.
A. 
A fortune-telling license issued under this chapter may be revoked by the Board of Appeals, after notice and hearing, for any of the following reasons:
[Amended 10-17-2006 by Bill No. 2006-11]
(1) 
Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement contained in the application for such license;
(2) 
Any violation of this chapter;
(3) 
Conviction of any crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; or
(4) 
Knowingly permitting any person other than the licensee to practice fortune-telling in the place of business of such licensee.
B. 
Notice of the hearing for revocation of a fortune-telling license issued under this chapter shall be given in writing, setting forth specifically the grounds of complaint and the time and place of hearing. Such notice shall be mailed, postage prepaid, to the licensee at the address set forth as the place of business of such licensee at least five days prior to the date set for hearing.
No person holding a permit under the terms and conditions of this chapter shall erect or post any sign advertising said business on the premises occupied and used by said permittee containing an area greater than four square feet, subject nevertheless, to all other rules and regulations of the Wicomico County Planning and Zoning Commission, and no more than one such sign shall be erected or posted on said premises.
It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to practice fortune-telling, when not practiced by recognized religious bodies or ordained ministers, outside the limits of incorporated towns and cities in Wicomico County and inside the limits of incorporated towns and cities whose charter provisions contain no power or authority to license, regulate or refuse to license them or any of them. Any person or persons violating any provision or provisions of the foregoing chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof before any court of competent jurisdiction in Wicomico County, Maryland, shall be subject to a fine of not less than $1,500 nor more than $2,500 for each such offense.