[Adopted 1-22-2015 by Ord. No. 1704]
Editor's Note: This ordinance superseded former Art. IV, Peddlers, adopted 2-19-1987 as Part 3, Title 1, Art. 307, of the 1987 Codified Ordinances, as amended.
The purpose of this article is to protect, maintain and enhance the public health, safety, and general welfare by regulating peddling and solicitation. The citizens and visitors to the City of Butler are subject to unregulated peddling and solicitation by sometimes questionable people and organizations in a hazardous manner and in vulnerable locations such as their own residence. It is the purpose of this article to regulate peddling and solicitation in the City of Butler to protect the public health, safety and welfare.
The following words, as used in this article, shall have the following meanings:
- The person or organization seeking a permit.
- CHIEF OF POLICE
- The Chief of the City of Butler Police Department or his designee.
- The person responsible for organizing the solicitation or peddling activity and whose name shall be on the application.
- The act of going from residence to residence throughout the City of Butler to solicit votes or orders, to conduct a survey (public opinion) or poll, or to conduct an uninvited detailed discussion, whether on foot or by use of a vehicle.
- Written authorization dispensed by the Chief of Police or his designee which allows the solicitation and peddling activity and specifies the given solicitation and peddling period.
- POLITICAL CANDIDATE
- A person seeking or wanting to be considered for a political office, including write-in candidates.
- RECOGNIZED YOUTH ORGANIZATION
- A national, state or local youth group having a specific structure and responsibilities and united for a particular purpose.
- Includes every separate living unit occupied for residential purposes by one or more persons, contained within any type of building or structure.
- The act of going from residence to residence asking for donations of money, tickets for money and coupon books for money, or selling items for money, with or without the distribution by such solicitor, or canvassing of literature, samples, free gifts or other materials within the City of Butler, whether on foot or by use of a vehicle.
- SOLICITATION AND PEDDLING PERIOD
- A period not to exceed three months.
General. The City of Butler prohibits any person or organization from conducting solicitation and peddling of residents without a permit. It shall be a violation of this article to engage in solicitation and peddling without a permit or otherwise not in accordance with the terms of this article and the permit requirement.
Permit required. Every person, prior to engaging in activity as a solicitor or peddler, whether acting on his or her own behalf, as principal, or as the employee or agent of another, shall apply for and obtain a permit as hereinafter provided:
Application. All requests for a permit must be provided to the Chief of Police or his designee at least 10 business days but no more than 60 calendar days prior to the date of the requested activity. The Chief of Police or his designee shall issue a decision within three business days of the application being filed. The Chief of Police, for good cause shown, shall have the authority to consider any application under this section which is filed less than 10 business days before the date such event is proposed to be conducted, provided the Chief of Police or his designee shall have adequate time to conduct the investigation. An application and permit shall be required for each solicitation and peddling period.
Required information. All applications for permits must include, at a minimum, the following information and shall be signed by the organizer(s):
Name(s). The name(s) of the person(s) making application for solicitation and peddling within the City of Butler.
Address. The permanent address and local address, if any, of each organizer.
Physical features of applicant(s), including height, weight, age, sex, race, and social security number of each for background check purposes.
Photocopy of driver's license or other official photo identification of each organizer.
Description of the proposed solicitation and peddling activity and purpose for the activity (i.e., use of funds).
Specific location(s) for solicitation and peddling activity, including specific houses targeted, and the number of solicitors or peddlers at each location.
Dates and times of solicitation or peddling activity.
Names of all participants proposed to be solicitors or peddlers and their ages. If any solicitors or peddlers are under 18, the names and addresses of adult supervisors; one adult supervisor per four solicitors or peddlers under age 18 is required.
The application shall contain a statement that the submission of the application shall be considered to be consent by each organizer for a background check to be run by the Chief of Police at his discretion on any person named on the application and a statement that all information contained thereon is true and correct.
Any additional information the Chief of Police may find reasonably necessary for a fair determination as to whether the proposed event will endanger public health, safety and welfare.
Investigation. The applicant must submit a criminal history background report from the Pennsylvania Access to Crime History (PATCH). The Chief of Police or his designee shall review the application for completeness and compliance with the terms of this article. The Chief of Police may, at his discretion, check to see if there are any records of complaints against the applicant in the records of the Police Department or the NCIC crime database system. The Chief of Police may, at his discretion, conduct a background check of the organizers. The Chief of Police may, at his discretion, make other inquiries he deems necessary for the investigation of the applicant or the organizers.
Decision. The Chief of Police may grant, deny, or grant a restricted permit.
The Chief of Police shall issue a permit as provided in this article from a consideration of the application and from such information as may otherwise be obtained, unless he finds that any or all of the following apply:
The applicant or any organizers or participants have any criminal complaints pending against them or have a criminal record involving crimes of theft, fraud, or other moral turpitude.
The Chief of Police has reason to believe that the request for the solicitation or peddling activity is of a fraudulent nature.
The conduct of the solicitation or peddling activity is contrary to the public's health, safety or general welfare.
The application was not complete, or the application or permits requested are not fully in compliance with the requirements of this article.
The Chief of Police shall indicate on the application review form all reasons for rejection of the application.
Location and times.
Prohibited times. No solicitation or peddling shall be allowed before 9:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m., Sunday through Saturday.
Locations. Solicitation and peddling shall be permitted in all areas where residential use is permitted.
Duration. A solicitation or peddling activity may last no longer than three months. A separate permit shall be required for each additional solicitation and peddling period.
Permit. The Chief of Police shall indicate on the permit the permitted activities, locations, and duration of the permit. The Chief of Police may approve a smaller or shorter duration than requested; may reduce the number of solicitors or peddlers; may approve a different location; or may generally make any other adjustments he believes necessary to the application to serve the public health, safety and welfare. The signed permit is to be kept on site and in the possession of all organizers at all times that solicitation or peddling is underway. If multiple locations are involved, a permit copy shall be kept at each location by each organizer. Permits shall be displayed at the request of any citizen or law enforcement personnel.
Non-content-based review. The content of the message of any applicant, their beliefs, the identification of the participants, or any other matter which does not directly impact on the public health, safety, and welfare shall not be relevant to the determination of whether to grant or deny a permit.
There shall be no physical contact by the solicitor or peddler with anyone being solicited or peddled without the person's consent. This shall be deemed to include not only physical force or restraint but also the act of placing objects on the person or clothing of the solicited.
Solicitors and peddlers shall not occupy a fixed location on any public sidewalk or street. There shall be no interference with or blocking movement of any pedestrian or vehicle by any solicitor or peddler.
A solicitor or peddler shall not be permitted to make or cause to be made any loud noise to attract attention or for any other purpose. Such noises may include, but shall not be limited to, shouting, use of loudspeakers, horns, drums, musical instruments or other sound devices.
A solicitor or peddler who is conducting such activity on private property, which is not open to the public, shall immediately leave such premises on request of any lawful occupant thereof.
The fees as set forth in the City of Butler Fee Schedule, adopted from time to time by resolution of the City Council, shall be paid by the applicant upon filing the application.
Editor's Note: See Ch. 264, Fees.
It shall be the responsibility of every solicitor or peddler given a permit under this article to pay to the City Treasurer of the City of Butler the proper taxes, including business privilege and income taxes, for himself or any employee on income earned as a result of the soliciting or peddling.
Appeals. Any person aggrieved by the denial or restriction of a permit shall have the right to appeal the denial or restriction to the City Council of the City of Butler. A written appeal shall be filed with the City Clerk within 10 days after the denial or restriction is received.
Procedure. The Chief of Police shall appear and present his case and evidence as to why the application was denied. The applicant shall have the opportunity to present his or her case and evidence in support of the application. The hearing shall be conducted as an evidentiary proceeding.
Standard of review. The City Council, keeping in mind the purpose of this article, the substantive provisions, and giving deference to the judgment of the Chief of Police, shall make a determination as to whether the denial or restriction was lawful and in the interests of the public health, safety and welfare, or whether the permit shall be issued or modified. If the latter, the City Council shall enter an order providing guidance as to the location, time, persons, and other criteria of this article. The City Council shall render a decision within 10 days after the hearing.
Revocation of permit. The Chief of Police or his designee is hereby authorized to revoke a permit issued under this article under the following circumstances:
If the organizer is convicted of a felony during the solicitation and peddling period.
If the Chief of Police or his designee determines that the goods or items being sold or distributed are unsafe, harmful or misrepresented to the public.
If it is determined that the organizer has given false information on the application.
If the organizer fails to abide by any of the provisions of this article.
If the Chief of Police becomes aware of illegal or unauthorized activity and the revocation of said permit is required in the best interests of public health, safety and welfare.
Persons soliciting without a permit or in violation of the permit shall be cited with a citation for prosecution in the Magisterial District Judges Court, in accordance with the requirements of law for such citations. All City of Butler police officers are authorized to issue such citations.
Any person, organization, business or entity in violation of the provisions of this article is subject to a fine of up to $300 per day per violation per individual participant. The minimum fine shall be $50 per day per violation per individual participant. In default of payment of such fines and costs, he or she shall be subject to imprisonment in the county jail for up to 90 days.
Any person, organization, business or entity found guilty of violating this article may not be issued a permit for a two-year period from the date of the violation. Upon a second offense, the person, organization or entity found guilty of violating this article shall be banned from further solicitation or peddling in the City of Butler.
The City Solicitor shall be authorized to seek injunctive relief and other relief in a court of competent jurisdiction if necessary to effectuate the intent of this article. The City of Butler shall be entitled to seek civil fines in the amounts specified above and shall be entitled to its attorney's fees for any successful action.
This article shall not apply to recognized youth organizations, including school-sponsored clubs; peddling conducted by political candidates for public office, their workers or representatives from political parties; solicitation of donations by mail; either the solicitation of money or peddling, as otherwise defined herein, from personal acquaintances of the person engaging in the activity; and persons who solicit for or on behalf of religious organizations or in pursuit of religious beliefs and activities. A permit is not required by any solicitation or peddling activity sponsored or conducted by the City of Butler or its departments and agencies, nor by any municipality or government agency in the City, such as firefighter or Police Department fundraisers or other similar collections.