[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township of Washington (now Township of Robbinsville) by Ord. No. 2003-34 (§ 4-4 of the 2001 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to regulate canvassing, soliciting, peddling and other forms of door-to-door activities within the Township. The licensure of persons engaged in the above-mentioned activities is required so that the identity of persons going door to door or otherwise selling goods to Township residents may be established and that the general regulations may be more effectively enforced in order to prevent fraud as well as criminal, unethical and dishonest business practices within the Township and for the protection and maintenance of the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the Township.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- All goods, wares, foods, meat, fish, ice cream, fruits, vegetables, magazines, periodicals, printed matter, farm products, services and orders or contracts for services, home improvement or alterations and anything that may be sold or distributed on a door-to-door basis by canvassers, solicitors, peddlers, or mobile retail food establishment or at a multiple transient merchant facility as defined herein.
- A mobile retail food establishment, multiple transient merchant facility, nonprofit vendor, peddler, solicitor and transient vendor as defined in this chapter.
- MOBILE RETAIL FOOD ESTABLISHMENT
- Any movable truck, van, trailer, bicycle or other movable unit, including hand-carried, portable containers in or on which food or beverage is transported, stored or prepared for retail sale or given away at temporary locations.
- MULTIPLE TRANSIENT MERCHANT FACILITY
- A facility in which groups of transient merchants conduct functions commonly known as trade shows, craft shows and similar functions within the facility for the same dates and times.
- NONPROFIT VENDOR
- A bona fide charitable organization, person or entity possessing a tax-exempt status which shall be evidenced by furnishing to the Township of Robbinsville a tax exempt number provided by the State of New Jersey and/or the Government of the United States.
- A person, commonly referred to as a "peddler" or "hawker" or "itinerant merchant" who goes from place to place or house to house by traveling on the streets and carries with him merchandise or services for the purpose of selling and delivering them to consumers.
- Any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, organization, club or association or any principal or agent thereof.
- PRIVATE STREET
- Any street, avenue, boulevard or road within the municipality which is not maintained by the Township but is rather the responsibility of a private homeowners' association and, as such, has not been dedicated to the Township.
- A person who goes from house to house selling or buying merchandise or service by sample or by taking orders for future delivery or selling a service, with or without acceptance of an advance payment for the merchandise or service.
- TRANSIENT MERCHANT
- A person who engages in a temporary business within the Township of selling and delivering merchandise or services within the Township and who in furtherance of such purpose, hires, leases, uses or occupies any building, structure, motor vehicle, tent, public room in hotels, lodging houses, apartments or shops, parking lot, sidewalk, street, alley or other place within the Township, for the exhibition and sale of such merchandise or services, either privately or at public auction. Any activities conducted which are contrary to the permitted uses under Chapter 142, Land Use, are hereby prohibited.
Except as provided herein, it shall be unlawful for any merchant to sell, offer for sale, take orders for or distribute merchandise, services or engage in any activities as enumerated in § 182-2 within the Township, without first registering with, filing an application for registration with, paying a registration fee to and obtaining a license from the Municipal Clerk.
[Added 4-29-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-18]
No person shall sell, offer for sale, peddle, solicit or canvas in the Township of any of the items listed in the definition of the term "peddling and soliciting" in § 182-2 before 9:00 a.m. or after 5:00 p.m., or on Sundays or holidays.
[Added 4-29-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-18]
It shall be unlawful for any merchant to sell, buy, dispose of or offer to sell or dispose of any merchandise or services or to solicit contributions, gifts, pledges or subscriptions of money or goods without first obtaining a license from the Municipal Clerk.
Any nonprofit vendor may acquire a single license for the sole purpose of conducting door-to-door solicitation upon submission of a list of all dates for such solicitation and the names and addresses of all solicitors and upon compliance with all other terms of this chapter. The license shall be valid for up to one year from date of issuance.
Any nonprofit vendor may acquire a single license for the sole purpose of conducting canister drives at commercial establishments upon submission of a list of all dates and locations for such solicitation and the names and addresses of all solicitors and upon compliance with all other terms of this chapter. Such solicitation is limited to two persons per ingress and/or egress doorway and shall not involve any structures, displays or furniture. The license shall be valid for one year from the date of issuance. The commercial establishment must approve of the canister drive prior to issuance of license.
This chapter shall not apply to:
[Amended 3-11-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-8]
Any person conducting a sale pursuant to statute or court order;
Any person canvassing in support of the election or defeat of a candidate for public office;
Any person canvassing in support of a social, moral or political cause or policy;
Any person engaged in delivering merchandise in the regular course of business to the premises of a person ordering or entitled to receive the same;
Any person or merchant delivering or soliciting newspapers;
Any person or merchant conducting a sale within a multiple transient merchant facility as defined in § 182-2;
Any person distributing pamphlets or door-to-door canvassing in furtherance of religious beliefs.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any merchant honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States or a member of a volunteer fire department possessing a valid license issued by the County Clerk pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:24-9b.
The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any private streets as defined in § 182-2. Permission must be obtained from the management association of the individual private community before any activities described in this chapter can be conducted within the confines of any private streets or communities. A list of the private communities and streets can be obtained from the Planning and Zoning Department.
A transient merchant shall not be relieved from complying with the provisions of this chapter merely by reason of associating temporarily with any local dealer, trader, merchant or auctioneer or by conducting such transient business in connection with, as part of, or in the name of any local dealer, trader, merchant or auctioneer.
[Amended 8-30-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-29]
It shall be unlawful for any peddler, hawker, solicitor or merchant to sell, buy, dispose of or offer to sell or dispose of any merchandise or services in or on any portion of a public right-of-way or any municipal street. Exceptions would be retail food vendors who have obtained the necessary permits from the Board of Health.
In applying for a license, a merchant shall file a written, sworn application signed by the appropriate responsible person or officer of such organization, and by the highest two officers if it is an association, society or other form of organization, with the Municipal Clerk, showing:
The name(s) and address(es) and telephone number(s) of the person(s) having the management or supervision of the applicant's business operation to be carried on in the Township; the permanent address or addresses of such person or persons; the capacity in which the person or persons will act (that is, whether as proprietor, agent or otherwise).
The name, address and telephone number of the applicant.
The place(s) in the Township where the merchant shall carry on the business, and the exact dates on which the merchant will conduct business. As appropriate, the applicant shall be required to submit a sketch depicting the exact location where the activities will be conducted and the distance from the nearest right-of-way line.
Disclosure of the address of all other locations where it conducted its business within the six months prior to filing the application; and a contact prior to verifying same.
A statement of the nature, character and quality of the merchandise to be sold by the applicant; whether it is proposed to be sold from stock on hand, by sample and taking orders for future delivery, or at auction; and where the goods or property proposed to be sold are manufactured or produced; and where such goods or products are located at the time the application is filed.
A brief statement of the nature and character of the advertising to be done in conjunction with activities related to the application, and, if required by the Municipal Clerk, copies of such all advertising, whether handbills, circulars, newspaper advertising or otherwise, shall be attached to the application as exhibits thereto.
For all person(s) exercising the management or supervision of the applicant's business, state whether such person has been convicted of a crime, misdemeanor or the violation of any municipal ordinance, the nature of such offense and the punishment assessed therefor.
A letter from the applicant authorizing the person(s) submitting the application to act as applicant's agent or representative.
Any such other reasonable information as to the identity or character of the person(s) exercising the management or supervision of the applicant's business or the method or plan of doing such business as the Chief of Police may deem proper to fulfill the purpose of this chapter in the protection of the public good.
Applicants will be required to show proof that they are or will comply with the State sales tax laws. The Township reserves the right to request proof of compliance.
An applicant may amend its application at any time so long as an application with all the changed information is included.
All such applications shall be filed at least 30 days prior to from the scheduled date of the activity.
A separate license must be obtained for every merchant soliciting, canvassing or peddling within the Township except as provided in §§ 182-4 and 182-7B.
The Municipal Clerk shall forward the application to the following departments. These entities shall conduct such investigation as they deem necessary to protect safety, health and welfare of the residents of the Township.
No license shall be issued to any merchant where the location of any activity is within 25 feet of the right-of-way line of any street in the Township of Robbinsville.
If, as a result of such investigation, the applicant's character and business integrity are found to be satisfactory, and do not create a safety hazard, the Chief of Police shall certify same to the Municipal Clerk. If, as a result of such investigation, the Health Officer shall determine that the activity does not pose a health or safety issue of any nature, he shall so certify to the Municipal Clerk. Finally, if as a result of such investigation, the Zoning Officer shall determine that the proposed activity complies with all applicable provisions of Chapter 142, Land Use, and § 182-14 of this chapter, he shall so certify to the Municipal Clerk. The Municipal Clerk, upon receipt of all such written certifications, shall then issue a license. The Municipal Clerk shall keep a full record of all licenses issued.
To facilitate background checks, an applicant shall be subject to fingerprinting pursuant to the instruction of the Police Department and shall execute an appropriate consent form.
[Added 3-30-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-9]
The results of the background checks shall not be considered public information and shall be released only to the Township Council, the Township Manager, Chief of Police or Township Attorney. The costs of background checks and fingerprinting shall be borne by the applicant.
[Added 3-30-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-9]
If an application is found unsatisfactory by the Chief of Police, Health Officer, and/or Zoning Officer, the Municipal Clerk shall notify the applicant that the application is denied. An applicant for a license hereunder shall have the right to appeal to the governing body from the denial of a license. Such appeal shall be filed within three days after the receipt of the notice of denial. Such appeal shall be taken by filing a written notice of appeal addressed to the governing body. The governing body shall act upon the appeal as soon as practicable after receiving the notice thereof and shall give the applicant reasonable opportunity to be heard before taking action. The governing body may affirm, reverse or modify the license.
If an applicant is found satisfactory by the Chief of Police, Board of Health, and Zoning Officer, a license shall be issued to the applicant upon payment of the proper fee and posting of bond. Such licensure shall contain the signature of the Municipal Clerk and shall show the name, address and recent photograph of the applicant, the type of business for which the applicant is registered, the kinds of goods or services to be sold thereunder, the date of issue, the length of time the license shall be operative, and the license number and other identifying description of any vehicle used in the activity licensed.
Every person to whom a license is issued under the terms of this chapter shall be governed by the following rules and regulations:
All circulars, samples, merchandise or other matter shall be handed to an occupant of the property or left in a secure place on the premises.
No merchant shall attempt to canvass, solicit or peddle merchandise or services without first having identified himself/herself as a merchant licensed by the Township and without displaying his/her certificate.
No merchant shall have exclusive rights to any location in the public streets or operate in any congested area where his/her operation might impede or inconvenience the public.
No merchant shall make any solicitation within the Township limits where solicitors are notified by sign that soliciting is prohibited.
No merchant shall conduct himself/herself in such a manner as to disturb the peace, become objectionable, or annoy any person while canvassing, soliciting or peddling within the Township limits.
No merchant shall distribute obscene merchandise or printed material or that which advocates unlawful conduct.
No merchant shall litter the streets, public places or property within the Township with any merchandise or printed material.
At the time of issuance of the license, the applicant shall pay an application fee. Each individual applicant for a license shall be required to pay such fee. Nonprofit vendors, as defined in this chapter, shall be exempt from paying the application fee.
[Amended 4-22-2004 by Ord. No. 2004-17]
Upon expiration of a license, it may be renewed upon compliance with all the provisions of this chapter and the payment of fees, except that the investigation and waiting period thereof may be waived if approved by the Chief of Police. The certificate shall expire one year from the date of issuance.
Upon obtaining a license, each merchant may conduct activities within the Township only as long as the merchant adheres to the regulations set forth herein and prominently displays the license on his/her person at all times during the conduct of his/her activities within the Township unless otherwise provided in this chapter. The license shall identify the merchant and the type of activity for which the merchant is registered and shall be shown to any person or police officer upon request.
The license issued under this chapter shall be posted conspicuously in the place of business named therein. In the event that such person or persons applying for the license desire to do business in more than one place within the Township, separate licenses may be issued for each place of business. Every person who is required to hold a license under this chapter shall carry the same when engaged in the business for which the license is issued. In addition, each licensee shall be required to have on his or her person a full and complete copy of the application for the license. Any alterations, erasures or mutilations shall void the license.
In addition to any other provisions of law, the licenses issued pursuant to this chapter may be revoked by the Municipal Clerk or his/her designee upon recommendation of the Chief of Police or his/her designee for any of the following causes:
Any fraud, misrepresentation of false statements contained in the application for license;
Any fraud, misrepresentation or false statements made in connection with the selling of goods, wares or merchandise;
Any violation of this chapter;
Conviction of the licensee or any felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; and
Conducting the business licensed under this chapter in an unlawful manner or in such a manner as to constitute a menace to the health, safety or general welfare of the public.
An appeal from any such revocation may be made to the governing body, by filing a notice of appeal with the Municipal Clerk, within 10 days of the date of the revocation. The governing body shall hear such appeal and render its decision within 45 days.
The Chief of Police shall report to the Municipal Clerk any complaints against any person licensed under the provisions of this chapter. The Municipal Clerk shall keep a record of all such licenses and of such complaints and violations.