Town of Watertown, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[1982 Code, Ch. VIII, § 6]
It is unlawful to affix by paste or otherwise, any handbill, placard, notice or advertisement, or paint, draw or stamp the same, or any marks or figures to or upon any sign board of the town, or to or upon any building, fence, pole, wall, tree or structure, without the permission of the owner of the building, fence, pole, wall, tree or structure.
[1982 Code, Ch. VIII, § 7]
No person shall, without a permit from the Town Manager or the Chief of Police, distribute free from hand to hand on any street, square, way or other public place, any card, paper, placard, flyer, hand bill or any other printed or written matter, except to advertise articles for sale, to promote trade, to promote or prevent the nomination or election of candidates for public office, or to disseminate information concerning matters to be voted upon by referendum.
[1982 Code, Ch. VIII, § 10]
No person shall distribute papers, circulars or advertisements through the town or any portion thereof in a manner as to make litter or otherwise cause public annoyance.
[Ord. 27, passed 4-26-1994]
This subchapter, adopted pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 43B, § 13 and Article 89 of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, establishes registration requirements and specific operation requirements for all persons or organizations intending to engage in door-to-door canvassing or solicitation in the town, in order to:
(A) 
Protect the town's citizenry from disruption of the peaceful enjoyment of their residences and from the perpetration of fraud or other crimes; and
(B) 
To allow for reasonable access to residents in their homes by persons or organizations who wish to communicate either commercial or non-commercial messages.
[Ord. 27, passed 4-26-1994]
(A) 
For the purpose of this subchapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
CANVASSING
Any 1 or more of the following activities:
(1) 
Person-to-person distribution of literature, periodicals or other printed materials, but shall not include placing or dropping off printed materials on the premises;
(2) 
Circulation of petitions;
(3) 
Seeking to enlist membership in any organization;
(4) 
Seeking to present, in person, organizational information or doctrine.
REGISTERED SOLICITOR
Any person who has obtained a valid certificate of registration from the town as required under this subchapter for the purpose of engaging in soliciting or canvassing activities.
RESIDENCE
Every individual dwelling unit occupied for residential purposes by one or more persons.
SOLICITING
Any one or more of the following door-to-door activities:
(1) 
Selling or seeking to obtain orders for the purchase of goods or services for any kind of consideration whatever;
(2) 
Selling or seeking to obtain prospective customers for application or purchase of insurance of any kind;
(3) 
Seeking to obtain subscriptions to books, magazines, periodicals, newspapers or any other type of publication;
(4) 
Seeking to obtain gifts or contributions of money, clothing or any other valuable thing for the support or benefit of any charitable or non-profit association, organization, corporation or project;
(5) 
Seeking to obtain information on the background, occupation, economic status, political or religious affiliation, attitudes, viewpoints, or the like of the occupants of a residence for the purpose of selling or using the data, wholly or in part, for commercial purposes.
[Ord. 27, passed 4-26-1994]
Except as may be expressly provided herein, it shall be unlawful for any person or organization to engage in soliciting or canvassing, as those activities are defined in § 112.21 of this chapter, within the limits of the town without first registering with the Police Department in accordance with this subchapter. The registration requirement of this subchapter shall be in addition to any requirements for registration imposed by Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 101, § 34.
[Ord. 27, passed 4-26-1994]
Every person or organization intending to engage in soliciting or canvassing door-to-door in the town must register with the Police Department at least three days in advance by filing a registration application form with the Chief of Police.
(A) 
Organization application forms shall include the following information:
(1) 
The name and address of the organization applying for registration, and the names and addresses of the organization's principal officers;
(2) 
The name, title and telephone number of the person filing the application form;
(3) 
The names and addresses of the person(s), if any, who will be directly supervising the solicitation or canvassing operation in the town;
(4) 
A list of the names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers of all individuals who will be employed in solicitation or canvassing by the applicant;
(5) 
Period of time for which certificate of registration is needed (no certificate may be granted for longer than a ninety-day period);
(6) 
Names of the last three communities (if any) in which the organization has conducted a solicitation or canvassing operation.
(B) 
Individual registration forms shall be required for all individuals, including those who are affiliated with an organization registered under division (A) of this section. Individual registration forms shall contain the following information:
(1) 
Name and address of present place of residence and length of residence at that address; if less than three years residence at present address, the address of residence(s) during the past three years;
(2) 
Date of birth;
(3) 
Name, address and telephone number of the person or organization whom the applicant represents and the length of time the applicant has been associated with or employed by that person or organization;
(4) 
Name and address of employer during the past three years if other than listed in division (B)(3);
(5) 
Period of time for which certificate of registration is needed (no certificate may be granted for longer than a ninety-day period);
(6) 
Names of the last three communities (if any) in which the applicant has solicited or canvassed door-to-door;
(7) 
Social Security number;
(8) 
Recent passport sized photograph of applicant to be affixed to registration card;
(9) 
Make, model and registration number of any vehicle to be used by the applicant while soliciting or canvassing.
[Ord. 27, passed 4-26-1994]
Each individual applicant for registration or re-registration shall pay a fee of $10, payable to the town.
[Ord. 27, passed 4-26-1994]
(A) 
Within 48 hours of the filing of a registration application form, the Police Chief shall furnish each person registered to engage in solicitation or canvassing with the registration card which shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The name of the person;
(2) 
A recent photograph of the person;
(3) 
The name of the organization (if any) which the person represents;
(4) 
A statement that the individual has been registered with the Police Department but that registration is not an endorsement of any individual or organization;
(5) 
Specific dates or period of time covered by the registration.
(B) 
Persons engaged in solicitation or canvassing must carry the registration card at all times and present the card to any person solicited, or upon request of any police officer.
(C) 
Registration cards are valid only for the specific dates or time period specified thereon and in no case for longer than 90 days.
(D) 
The Police Chief shall refuse to register an organization or individual:
(1) 
Who refuses to provide any of the information required under § 112.23 of this subchapter;
(2) 
Who has been convicted of a felony;
(3) 
Who has been determined by the Police Chief to be a fugitive from justice; or
(4) 
Whose registration has been revoked for violation of this subchapter within the previous two-year period.
[Ord. 27, passed 4-26-1994]
The registration provisions of this subchapter shall not apply to:
(A) 
Officers or employees of the town, county, state or federal governments when on official business;
(B) 
Candidates for public office, representatives of political parties recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, or persons disseminating information or obtaining signatures for matters to be voted upon by the referendum or initiative process;
(C) 
Individual representatives of non-profit charitable organizations upon registration by the president or treasurer of the organization with the Chief of Police, on a form to be furnished by the Chief; or
(D) 
Minors under the age of 18, except in connection with commercial activity.
[Ord. 27, passed 4-26-1994]
(A) 
Every occupant of a residence desiring to secure additional protection under this subchapter shall exhibit upon or near the main entrance door to the residence, a weatherproofed card, approximately three inches by five inches in size, indicating the determination by the occupant as to whether or not solicitors or canvassers are invited to the residence by the following applicable words:
"No Solicitors or Canvassers Invited"
or
"No Solicitors or Canvassers Invited Before the Hour of ___ A.M. or After the Hour of ___ P.M."
(B) 
For the purpose of uniformity, these cards shall be provided, at cost, by the Police Department to persons so requesting.
[Ord. 27, passed 4-26-1994]
(A) 
It shall be the duty of every solicitor or canvasser, upon going onto any residential premises in the town, to first examine the notice provided for in § 112.27, if any is exhibited. If the notice states "No Solicitors or Canvassers Invited", then the solicitor or canvasser shall immediately and peacefully depart from the premises. If, the notice limits the hours of solicitation, the solicitor or canvasser shall comply with the limits noted.
(B) 
Any solicitor or canvasser who has gained entrance to any residence, whether invited or not, shall immediately and peacefully depart from the premises when requested to do so by the occupant.
(C) 
Immediately upon gaining entrance to any residence, each solicitor or canvasser must do the following:
(1) 
Present his or her registration card for inspection by the occupant;
(2) 
Request that the occupant read the registration card; and
(3) 
Inform the occupant in clear language of the nature and purpose of his or her business and, if he or she is representing an organization, the name and nature of that organization.
(D) 
It shall be the duty of every organization employing solicitors or canvassers to notify the Police Department daily as to what area(s) of the town they will be operating in.
[Ord. 27, passed 4-26-1994]
It shall be unlawful for a solicitor or canvasser to do any of the following:
(A) 
Falsely represent, directly or by implication, that the solicitation or canvassing is being done on behalf of a governmental organization.
(B) 
Solicit or canvass at any residence where there is a posted sign stating "No Solicitors Invited", without express prior permission of an occupant.
(C) 
Go upon any residential premises and ring the doorbell or rap or knock upon the door of the residence or create any sound in any manner calculated to attract the attention of the occupant of the residence for the purpose of soliciting or canvassing in defiance of a notice exhibited at the residence in accordance with § 112.27.
[Ord. 27, passed 4-26-1994]
(A) 
This subchapter shall be enforced by any police officer of the town in accordance with the provisions contained in § 10.99 and Chapter 35 of this code of ordinances.
(B) 
Any person or organization who is convicted of any crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, any person who violates any provision of §§ 112.28 and 112.29 of this chapter or who knowingly provides false information on the registration application, or any person who is determined by the Police Chief to be a fugitive from justice, shall have his or her or its registration revoked by the Chief of Police by written notice delivered to the holder of the registration in person, or sent to the holder by certified mail at the address set forth in the application.
[Ord. 27, passed 4-26-1994]
Any person or organization who is denied registration or whose registration has been revoked may appeal by filing a written notice of appeal with the Town Manager. The appeal must be filed within 20 days after receipt of the notice of denial or revocation. The Town Manager shall hear and determine the appeal within 30 days after the filing of the written notice of appeal.
[1982 Code, Ch. VIII, § 6; Ord. 27, passed 4-26-1994]
(A) 
Whoever violates § 112.01 of this chapter shall pay a sum of $50 for each offense. If a handbill, placard, notice, advertisement, mark, or figure is deemed obscene or indecent, the penalty shall be $100.
(B) 
Any person or organization violating any of the provisions of §§ 112.20 et seq. of this chapter shall be subject to a fine of $300 for each offense.