[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Bellefonte 4-21-2014 by Ord. No. 04212014-01. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Market — See Ch. 355.
Newspaper racks — See Ch. 367.
Noise — See Ch. 372.
Editor’s Note: This ordinance also superseded former Ch. 410, Peddling and Soliciting, which consisted of Art. I, Solicitors, Vendors, Peddlers and Transient Merchants, adopted 2-19-1979 by Ord. No. 819 (Ch. 836, Secs. 836.01 to 836.16, of the 1979 Codified Ordinances), as amended, and Art. II, Panhandling, adopted 11-17-2008 by Ord. No. 11172008-01 (Ch. 836, Sec. 836.17, of the 1979 Codified Ordinances).
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any person who engages in "peddling," as defined in the definition in this section.
- The selling or offering for sale of any goods, wares, services or merchandise for immediate delivery, which goods, wares, services or merchandise the person selling or offering for sale carries with him in traveling or has in his possession or control upon any of the streets or sidewalks, from house to house, by visitation to private residences or by entering in or upon private property within the Borough. However, the words "soliciting" and "peddling" do not apply to:
- A. Farmers seeking or taking orders for the sale of their own products;
- B. The seeking or taking of orders by any manufacturer or producer for the sale of bread and bakery products, meats and meat products or milk or milk products;
- C. The sale of goods, wares and merchandise donated by the owners thereof, the proceeds wherefore are to be applied to any charitable, philanthropic or religious purpose, provided such activity is first registered with the Borough in accordance with § 410-2;
- D. Any honorably discharged veteran of the armed services;
- E. The seeking or taking of orders for insurance by insurance agents or brokers licensed under the insurance laws of the commonwealth;
- F. Persons, corporations, partnerships or associations, their agents or employees, who have complied with the provisions of the Act of Assembly of the commonwealth known as the Solicitation of Funds for Charitable Purposes Act, 10 P.S. § 162.1 et seq., as supplemented and amended, governing solicitations for charitable, benevolent, religious, patriotic or other purposes.
- G. Any person taking orders for merchandise from dealers or merchants for resale to an ultimate consumer.
- H. In addition, this chapter shall not apply to boys or girls under the age of 18 years who take orders for and deliver newspapers, greeting cards, candy and the like, or who represent the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts or similar organizations and take orders for and deliver cookies and the like.
- Subject to the exceptions provided for in the definition of "peddling" in this section, "soliciting" means the seeking or taking of contracts or orders for any goods, wares, services or merchandise for future delivery or for subscriptions or contributions, upon any of the streets or sidewalks or from house to house or by visitation to private residences or by entering in or upon private property within the Borough. It further means the seeking or taking of contracts or orders for home or other building repair, improvement and alteration and also orders or contracts for any mechanical, electrical, plumbing or heating device or equipment for house or other building improvement or repair upon or from the places aforesaid within the Borough.
- Any person who engages in "soliciting," as defined in the definition in this section.
- TRANSIENT MERCHANT
- Any person, whether principal or agent, corporation, partnership or association, entering into, beginning or desiring to begin a transient retail business in the Borough for the sale of any goods, wares or merchandise, who hires, leases, occupies or uses any room, apartment, store, shop, building, railway car or other place or structure for the exhibition and sale of such goods, wares or merchandise, who does not remain at the same location for a period in excess of six weeks and whose location is temporary. This definition does not include persons, partnerships, corporations or associations exempted by the definition of "peddling" in this section.
Solicitation of funds for charitable, religious or nonprofit causes shall be permitted at any business establishment and upon any business properties, such as shopping center parking lots, during normal business hours, but those solicitors shall also register at the Borough Building and carry identification cards.
It shall be lawful for the members of any duly constituted religious organization or any group affiliated with or forming an integral part of such organization to minister, proselytize or communicate its goals, purposes or philosophies on a door-to-door basis, provided the group or individual who actually makes such call or visit registers, without fee or charge, with the Bellefonte Police Department on a form to be provided by the Bellefonte Police Department and kept on permanent file at the Bellefonte Police Department. The form of such registration certification shall be as provided by Council. Such duly constituted religious organization shall certify, by its agent, to the Bellefonte Police Department that such organization or integral part thereof has received from the government of the United States current tax-exempt status and that no part of the net income received by such organization or integral group inures to the benefit of any individual.
Upon written complaint of any citizen or resident of the Borough that any member or group of any organized and duly constituted religious organization has failed to leave the premises after being requested to do so or has behaved in any manner to give offense to such resident, the Chief of Police or his/her designee shall file an action against such person or group before a competent authority for violation of this section.
A peddler, solicitor or transient merchant application and permit is available at the Police Department and may be updated from time to time. Conditions may be placed on vendor activities. Licenses are valid for 30 days and may be revoked at the discretion of the Bellefonte Chief of Police or his/her designee.
No person shall engage in soliciting, peddling or transient merchandising in the Borough without first obtaining a license therefor as hereinafter provided.
Every person desiring to engage in soliciting, peddling or transient merchandising in the Borough shall first make application to the Police Department for a license, whereupon such person shall be required to obtain a license and shall, in making such application, exhibit such license which shall be valid. It shall be the obligation of every person desiring to engage in soliciting, peddling or transient merchandising within the Borough to maintain, at all times, about his person a valid Borough license. Failure to do so shall be a violation of this article. The application shall be upon a form prescribed by the Borough and provided by the Police Department, which form shall contain the following information verified by oath or affirmation:
The name of the business, meaning the firm, corporation or person owning or operating such business within the Borough and the names of all persons, whether resident or not, participating in and assisting in the conducting of such business, together with the name of the applicant;
The addresses of all persons, firms or corporations referred to above, together with the address or location of any place of business or location within the Borough from which such business will be conducted, together with the permanent address of the applicant;
The age, weight, height, color and any other descriptive information relative to each individual as referred to in this section;
A complete and accurate description of the nature and type of business to be conducted, including, but not limited to, the procedures and methods used in contacting and interesting potential customers and also including the hours and days during which such business is to be conducted;
A description of any vehicle used by any of the individuals referred to in this section, including the make, license plate number, state of licensing, name of the registered owner, and name and operator's number of all operators;
A complete description of goods, wares, merchandise or articles to be sold, including prices, deposits requested and copies of any contract, if any, to be offered to the general public for such purchases;
A statement as to whether or not the applicant has ever been convicted of any crime, other than a traffic offense, and, where the answer is in the affirmative, the nature of the offense and the punishment imposed upon such applicant. Upon request of the Police Department, the applicant shall submit to fingerprinting and furnish a photograph.
Any other information required or desired by the Police Department.
Where a person makes application for himself and/or one or more helpers, all applicable personal information specified in § 410-6 shall be given for each helper and verified or affirmed by oath or affirmation by each individual for whom application is made, and the application shall be signed personally by each individual. An individual license shall be required for each such helper or assistant. No license under this article shall be transferable from one person to another.
No license shall be issued under this article until a period of 72 hours has elapsed from the time of application, such period of time to be used by the Borough Police Department for proper investigation of each applicant.
Every solicitor, peddler, hawker, itinerate or transient merchant or vendor engaged in a business licensed under this article shall be responsible for the payment of earned income taxes payable by himself or any employee thereof as a result of wages earned within the Borough unless otherwise exempt by law.
A license fee shall be paid to the Borough Police Department, for the use of the Borough, upon the issuance of any license under this article. A separate application shall be filed and a separate permit fee shall be paid by each person who actually conducts the soliciting, hawking, peddling or transient merchandising.
The fee to be paid for a license shall be as established by resolution of the Borough Council.
The license granted pursuant to this article shall be valid for 30 days after the date of such license. Upon the expiration of any license, if the person holding the same desires to continue or renew soliciting or peddling, he shall file a new application for a license and pay a new license fee. Such licenses may be issued, in advance, for consecutive thirty-day periods, not exceeding three in number for any calendar year, upon payment, in advance, of the license fee due hereunder.
A license issued under this article shall state, inter alia, the products to be sold or services to be rendered by the licensee. Every solicitor or peddler shall at all times when engaged in soliciting or peddling in the Borough carry such license upon his person and shall exhibit it upon request to all police officers, Borough officials and residents. No solicitor or peddler shall engage in selling any product or service not mentioned on such license.
No person licensed as a solicitor or peddler under this article shall engage in soliciting or peddling on any day of the week before 9:00 a.m., prevailing time, or after 7:00 p.m. or sunset at night, whichever comes first. No person licensed as a solicitor or peddler under this article shall engage in any soliciting or peddling on Sundays, so as to provide the residents of the Borough rest and respite from activities of this nature and the freedom to enjoy their hearths and homes without interruption from the outside. No person licensed as a solicitor or peddler under this article shall engage in any soliciting or peddling on legal holidays.
No person licensed as a solicitor or peddler under this article shall park any vehicle upon any of the streets, highways or alleys of the Borough in order to sort, rearrange or clean any of his goods, wares, services or merchandise, or place or deposit any refuse on any street, highway or alley, or maintain or keep a street or curbstone market by parking any vehicle upon any street or alley in the Borough for longer than necessary in order to sell therefrom to persons residing in the immediate vicinity.
No person licensed as a solicitor or peddler under this article shall occupy any fixed location upon any street, highway, alley or sidewalk of the Borough for the purpose of soliciting or peddling, with or without a stand or counter.
The Police Department shall keep a record of all licenses issued under this article and shall supervise the activities of all licensees.
Any license issued under this article may be suspended or revoked at any time by the Chief of Police or his/her designee for any of the following reasons:
The application for a license contains false statements or information.
The applicant or licensee was convicted of a crime, other than a traffic offense, after the issuance of such license.
A consumer protection agency of the federal or state government has notified the Borough of the receipt of a complaint arising out of the activities of a licensee.
A complaint about the activities of a licensee has been investigated and it has been determined by the Police Department that a violation has occurred.
All revocations/suspensions of licenses may be effective immediately and are at the discretion of the Police Chief or his/her designee. The appeal process must be initiated within seven days of receipt of the revocation/suspension. The appeal process is as follows:
A written letter by the licensee to the Borough Manager with an explanation as to why the revocation/suspension is not justified and why the license should be reinstated. The Borough Manager shall have five days from the time of receipt to review and make a decision.
If the licensee is not satisfied with the decision by the Borough Manager; then the appeal, in writing, shall go to a committee appointed by the Council President at the Council's first meeting where notice is received. The committee shall hear the appeal and make a decision within 30 days from the date of the Council meeting where notice was received.
If the licensee is not satisfied with the committee decision, then a written appeal can be submitted to the Council, where the Council shall act on the appeal within 30 days after receipt of the appeal in writing. Receipt of the appeal or written notice, for purposes of this section, can only occur at a regularly scheduled Council meeting.
All costs related to appeal hearings are the responsibility of the licensee.
No person licensed as a solicitor or peddler under this article shall hawk or cry his wares or services upon any of the streets or sidewalks of the Borough or use any loudspeaker, bell, whistle or other device, by which the public is annoyed, for announcing his presence.
Definition. As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any solicitation made in person, requesting an immediate donation of money or other thing of value. Purchase of an item for an amount far exceeding its value, under circumstances where a reasonable person would understand that the purchase is, in substance, a donation, is a donation for the purposes of this section. Except as specifically provided in this section, panhandling does not include passively standing or sitting with a sign or other indication that one is seeking donations, without addressing any solicitation to any specific person other than in response to an inquiry by that person.
Place of panhandling; violation. It shall be unlawful for any person to panhandle, and no registration issued under this section shall be deemed to allow panhandling, including passively standing or sitting with a sign or other indication that one is seeking donations, when the person solicited is in any of the following places within the Borough:
At any bus or train stop;
In any public transportation vehicle or facility, excluding airports;
In any vehicle on the street;
In a public park, fairground, or sporting facility, including entryways or exits thereto;
Within 15 feet of the site of any automated teller machine (ATM);
On private property, unless the panhandler has permission from the owner or occupant;
In a parking lot or garage owned or operated by the Borough, including entryways or exits and pay stations connected therewith; or
On public property in the downtown core district.
Manner of panhandling; violation. It shall be unlawful for any person to panhandle in any of the following manners:
By blocking the path of the person solicited;
By using profane or abusive language, either during the solicitation or following a refusal;
By panhandling in a group of two or more persons; or
By any statement, gesture, or other communication which a reasonable person in the situation of the person solicited would perceive to be a threat.
False or misleading solicitation; violation.
It shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly make any false or misleading representation in the course of soliciting a donation. False or misleading representations include, but are not limited to, the following:
Stating that the donation is needed to meet a specific need, when the solicitor already has sufficient funds to meet that need and does not disclose that fact;
Stating that the donation is needed to meet a need which does not exist;
Stating that the solicitor is from out of town and stranded, when such is not true;
Wearing a military uniform or other indication of military service, when the solicitor is neither a present nor former member of the service indicated;
Wearing or displaying an indication of physical disability, when the solicitor does not suffer the disability indicated;
Use of any makeup or device to simulate any deformity; or
Stating that the solicitor is homeless, when he or she is not.
It shall be unlawful for any person to solicit a donation stating that the funds are needed for a specific purpose and to then spend the funds received for a different purpose.
Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the following meanings ascribed to them, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning.
- Any commercial establishment, service or activity operated for financial gain.
- DOWNTOWN CORE DISTRICT
- The zoning districts known as the Waterfront and Central Business Districts of Bellefonte Borough.
- OFF-PREMISES CANVASSING
- Person-to-person distribution on public property of written, printed, drawn or illustrated matter, in whatever format, advertising or promoting a business or business activity, including, without limitation, handbill, circular, dodger, pamphlet, paper, booklet, sample or device. It does not include newspapers or other printed matter contained in receptacles.
- PUBLIC PROPERTY
- Any street, alley, highway, parking lot, sidewalk, garage, park, plaza, building, ground, or other property owned or controlled by the Borough, or any portion thereof.
- Person-to-person communication which, directly or indirectly, seeks a present donation of money or other thing of material value.
Off-premises canvassing. It is unlawful for any person to conduct off-premises canvassing on public property in the downtown core district unless:
Operating within and pursuant to a current franchise, concession contract, permit or agreement with the Borough for the use of the public property in question;
Operating a transportation service otherwise permitted by this Code or state law; or
Incidental to route, delivery, service, supply or repair persons responding to service calls and operating from clearly identifiable vehicles.
Solicitation. It is unlawful to conduct solicitation, as defined herein, for charitable purposes unless:
The solicitation falls within a recognized, constitutionally guaranteed exercise of religion, press or noncommercial speech, where money is not solicited for a present donation or exchange. Presence and conduct is subject to all other regulations provided for in the Code of the Borough, such as, without limitation, noise, camping, blocking passage, licensing and permitting.
Definition. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- An improved walkway intended primarily for pedestrians, usually running parallel to one or both sides of the pavement of a street, and public transit waiting areas located within the public right-of-way.
Prohibition. It is unlawful for any person, after having been notified by a law enforcement officer of the prohibition in this section, to sit or lie down upon a public sidewalk or upon a blanket, chair, stool or any other object placed upon a public sidewalk in the downtown core district, as defined in § 410-20A.
Affirmative defenses. It is an affirmative defense to the prohibition in this section if it is shown that:
Sitting or lying down on a public sidewalk is due to a medical emergency;
As a result of age, infirmity or disability a person utilizes a wheelchair, walker, stroller or similar device to move about a public sidewalk;
The person is operating or patronizing a commercial establishment conducted on the public sidewalk pursuant to a street use or similar permit; or a person participating in or attending a parade, festival, performance, rally, demonstration, meeting or similar event conducted on a public sidewalk pursuant to a street use or other applicable permit;
The person is sitting on a chair or bench located on the public sidewalk which is supplied by a public or private agency or by the abutting private property owner;
The sitting or lying is while waiting in an orderly line for entry to any building, including shelters, or awaiting social services, such as provision of meals, or outside a box office to purchase tickets to any sporting event, concert, performance, or other special event; or
The sitting or lying is an integral part of a planned, publicized protest by 10 or more people accompanied by incidents of speech such as signs and literature explaining the protest, for which proper Borough permits have been obtained.
Any resident of the Borough of Bellefonte may register with the Borough of Bellefonte Police Department by signing a registration list, application or through any Borough-approved electronic means indicating that such owner or resident of such home does not wish to be solicited. The Borough of Bellefonte shall place the address only upon a registration list for the same. Any person seeking a licensing permit under the provisions of this chapter shall, in signing the application to obtain the same, agree that he or she will not solicit addresses on the list which indicates that such owner or resident of such home does not wish to be solicited. Such a list shall be made available to the residents of the Borough and shall be held by the Department of Police, and a copy thereof, with addresses only, shall be given to each person obtaining a license and identification card under the provisions of this chapter.
In the event that such person soliciting within the boundaries of the Borough shall fail to recognize the wishes of the homeowner or the resident of such home as expressed in the notice, then any such attempt to solicit such home shall result in a revocation of the solicitor's license and identification card. The revocation/suspension will take effect immediately upon all licensees under the same entity licensed for soliciting or peddling in the Borough, if the Police Department finds that a violation of this section has occurred.