[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Cinnaminson 10-18-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-11. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The uncontrolled distribution of handbills in public rights-of-way and semipublic rights-of-way presents a hazard and danger to the safety and welfare of persons using such rights-of-way, including pedestrians, persons entering and leaving vehicles and buildings, motorists and persons performing essential utility, traffic control and emergency services when not conducted in a reasonable, responsible and orderly manner.
Persons so located as to cause an inconvenience or danger to persons using public rights-of-way and semipublic rights-of-way and unsightly litter located around and directly caused by handbill distribution constitute public nuisances.
While certain community events may draw large crowds making handbill distribution enticing, the Township must ensure that pedestrians and motorist are permitted to freely pass in a safe manner.
The Township further recognizes that emergency personnel are required to respond to crowded events, and distributors of handbills must be located in areas to avoid obstruction to emergency responders.
The Township seeks to enact regulations to ensure that handbills do not become litter which may cause the need for additional governmental expenditures to clean up dropped or discarded handbills to prevent same from entering the storm drain system in violation of Department of Environmental Protection regulations.
The Township Committee recognizes, however, that the use of such rights-of-way is so historically associated with the distribution of handbills that access to such areas should not be absolutely denied. The Township Committee further finds that these strong and competing interests require reasonable accommodations which can only be satisfactorily achieved through the means of this chapter, which is designed to accommodate such interests regulating the time, place and manner of handbill distribution.
The provisions and prohibitions enacted herein are in pursuance of securing and promoting the general welfare of persons in the Township in their use of public rights-of-way and semipublic rights-of-way through the regulation of persons seeking to distribute handbills on such rights-of-way so as to:
Provide for pedestrian and driving safety and convenience;
Ensure no unreasonable interference with the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic, including ingress to, or egress from, any place of business, residence or public or private property or from the street to the sidewalk;
Ensure access by emergency vehicles;
Provide reasonable access for the use and maintenance of sidewalks, poles, traffic signs and signals, hydrants, mailboxes and similar appurtenances and access to locations used for public transportation purposes;
Reduce visual blight on the public rights-of-way and semipublic rights-of-way, protect the aesthetics and value of surrounding properties and protect the quiet of residential areas;
Prevent violation of stormwater regulations or the unnecessary expenditure of tax dollars to remove discarded materials from rights-of-ways; and
Reduce exposure of the Township to personal injury or property damage claims and litigation.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CHIEF OR CHIEF OF POLICE
- The Chief of Police of the Township of Cinnaminson or his designee.
- The physical act or action of attempting to provide or providing a handbill to any person in the public rights-of-way or semipublic rights-of-way.
- A person engaged in the act of distribution.
- A printed sheet or pamphlet, including, but not limited to, flyers, coupons, circulars, leaflets, brochures and other materials distributed by hand.
- The prevention of the free flowing, safe and lawful passage of pedestrians and vehicles on public sidewalks, streets, roadways and public rights-of-way in the Township by placing thereon any other person or object.
- Any individual, firm, partnership, joint venture, association, social club, fraternal organization, labor union, joint stock company, corporation, estate, trust, business trust, receiver, trustee, syndicate or any other group or combination acting as a unit.
- PUBLIC RIGHTS-OF-WAY
- Strips of land acquired by reservation, dedication, forced dedication, prescription or condemnation and intended to be occupied by roads, crosswalks, sidewalks, buffer strips, curbs, public utilities, storm sewers or other similar uses.
- SEMIPUBLIC RIGHTS-OF-WAY
- Lands owned by a person held out for commercial and business purposes, including, but not limited to, shopping centers, strip malls and retail stores, as well as churches, schools and other nonprofit or governmental organizations or associations.
No person shall distribute handbills within the public rights-of-way or semipublic rights-of-way unless and until that person shall have applied for and received a permit from the Township in accordance with the standards established herein.
Within 30 days of the date on which a person seeks to distribute handbills, but not less than 10 days prior to the date and time of the distribution, a person shall make written application to the Township Police Department seeking a permit to distribute handbills. The written application shall include:
The number of individuals who will be distributing handbills. The applicant must be one of the persons distributing handbills.
The location(s) of public rights-of-way and semipublic rights-of-way where permission is requested. The applicant shall be as specific as possible, for example: "the first 20 feet in all directions of the northwest corner of Cinnaminson Avenue between the curb and sidewalk and not in the lanes of travel."
The dates and times of proposed distribution.
The applicant shall indicate what measures he will undertake in performing the proposed activity which will avoid interference with or obstruction of the flow of pedestrian or motor vehicle traffic and ensure the safety of pedestrians and motor vehicles.
The applicant shall indicate what steps are to be taken during the distribution and post-distribution of handbills to ensure that the handbills do not become a source of litter.
The applicant's name and contact phone numbers and street address.
The application shall be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of $25 to cover the administrative cost of reviewing the application and making necessary administrative scheduling changes to ensure the peaceful distribution of handbills in conformance with this chapter.
Upon application for a permit, the Chief of Police shall review the application and determine if the same is complete. The Chief shall determine if any other organization has also requested the right to distribute handbills on the same date and at the same time and location. If there is a conflict in schedule, the permit shall be issued to the applicant that first applied. The Chief shall determine if the applicant's activity will realistically interfere with the safe flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic. The Chief shall determine if the applicant has taken appropriate measures to ensure littering will be minimized and the area will be restored to its current condition following the distribution activity. The Chief may make additional recommendations or modifications to the proposal that will help ensure pedestrian and motor vehicle safety. For example, the Chief may consider the width of the sidewalks or streets and shall consider whether the presence of a handbill distributor would likely cause a pedestrian to leave the sidewalk and enter a travel lane in the roadway to avoid the permittee, thus creating a dangerous condition. If the Chief is satisfied with the completeness of the application, the safety of the pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic, the care for the prevention of litter and the other above criteria, and the date, time and location are available the Chief shall issue the permit. If the Chief determines to reject the application, the Chief shall reject the application, in writing, stating the reasons for rejection and, if for safety considerations, providing at least two reasonable accommodations near the area requested which will allow the safe flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic. The Chief shall provide the writing to the applicant through the information provided in the application via regular mail, e-mail or facsimile. The Chief's decision shall be made within three days of submission of a complete application.
The applicant shall have the right to seek review of the Chief's decision in a court of competent jurisdiction.
All persons distributing handbills shall conform with the following requirements:
The person shall remain in the public rights-of-way or semipublic rights-of-way.
The person shall not proceed onto private property without permission of the property owner.
The person shall not obstruct or interfere with the safe flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic. The person distributing handbills shall ensure a clear path on all sidewalks by standing adjacent to the sidewalk when positioning on the sidewalk would reduce the sidewalk width to less than 30 inches.
The person shall not attempt to distribute handbills to moving vehicles nor stand in the roadway while vehicles are in motion.
No person shall obstruct any crosswalk, handicapped ramp or handicapped parking space at any time.
If the accumulation of crowds and the location of persons distributing handbills creates an unforeseen safety hazard, the Police Department may relocate the distributors to a reasonable and safe location to ensure the safety of all residents and visitors, as well as the reasonable opportunity to distribute the handbills.
If distributing handbills at any time 1/2 hour or more before sunrise or 1/2 hour or more after sunset, the person shall wear a minimum total of 24 square inches of reflective material with at least 12 square inches of reflective material on the front and back side of each person distributing handbills.
The person shall provide a solid waste and/or recycling collection container within 25 feet past the point of distribution, shall ensure that the container does not interfere with the safe flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic and ensure that the container is emptied frequently to prevent overflow of materials to the surrounding ground. The permittee shall use reasonable efforts to collect handbills that are discarded other than in the container.
The collection containers, materials and debris shall be removed at the end of the distribution and before leaving the specific location each day.
In the event that the Chief finds, upon personal observation or written complaint, that there is such a serious infraction of the rules established in this chapter or that an applicant has provided false information on his application, the Chief may suspend or revoke the permit until such time as the applicant shall have cured the deficiency, corrected the infraction and/or provided the necessary information required.
Noncompliance with the terms and conditions of this chapter shall constitute a violation.
Each and every day any violation of this chapter exists or continues to exist shall be determined as a violation or offense under this chapter.
Any person violating any provision of this chapter by the performance of a prohibited act or by failing, neglecting or refusing to do any act or anything required by this chapter shall, upon a trial and conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction, forfeit or pay such fines not in excess of the sum of $100 for each offense or be sentenced to a jail term not exceeding 90 days (if convicted as a natural person) and/or ordered to perform a period of community service not exceeding 90 days.
The proper enforcement of the provisions of this chapter shall be within the jurisdiction of the Township of Cinnaminson Police Department.