[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Clarkstown 6-11-2019 by L.L. No. 8-2019. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Editor's Note: This local law also superseded former Ch. 208, Peddling, Hawking and Soliciting, adopted 5-13-2008 by L.L. No. 3-2008, as amended.
This chapter shall be entitled the "Peddling, Hawking and Soliciting Law of the Town of Clarkstown."
Prior to the adoption of this chapter, the Town Board received numerous complaints from residents who expressed concern for their safety, from unwanted intrusions of their privacy in their homes and from fraudulent, unethical and dishonest business practices by uninvited and unwanted commercial peddlers, solicitors and others at all hours of the day and night. The Town Board was advised by the Chief of Police that he was aware that criminals approach residences and knock on the door in order to attempt to gain entry to residences then or at some other time under the pretext of being a peddler, solicitor or a person conducting some other legitimate activity and by doing so they are able to commit crimes against persons and property. The Town Board recognized that it has a substantial governmental interest in protecting the safety and privacy of its residents in their homes, and protecting residents from fraudulent activities of itinerant sellers, hawkers and solicitors of orders for sale. Prior to adopting this chapter, the Town Board received input from residents, commercial solicitors and others and has considered the experience of other communities in order to formulate a local law that will directly advance the preservation of the peace, health, safety, welfare and good order of the Town and its inhabitants without being more extensive than necessary to serve this interest.
In order to promote the peace, comfort, safety and well-being of the inhabitants of the Town of Clarkstown and to protect these inhabitants from unwanted intrusions upon the privacy of their homes and home lands, and from crime and fraud, the practice of going in and upon private lands and residences in the Town of Clarkstown by solicitors, peddlers, hawkers, itinerant merchants or transient vendors of merchandise, not having been requested or invited so to do by the owner or owners, occupant or occupants of such private lands or residence, for the purpose of soliciting orders on a commercial basis, for the sale of goods, wares and merchandise, and/or selling commodities or services and/or disposing of and/or peddling or hawking the same is declared to be a violation of this chapter.
No person shall by foot, animal, vehicle or other means go in or upon any private land or residence within the Town of Clarkstown for the purpose of soliciting an invitation or request for any of the purposes set forth in § 208-3 hereof.
The fact that an owner or occupant has failed to post any sign or notice prohibiting solicitors or others from entry on his premises shall be construed as an invitation under § 208-3 hereof.
No person shall engage in the business of selling or attempting to sell or solicit orders for the sale of any property or any services on any public street or public place.
No person shall hawk, peddle or vend goods, wares or merchandise, or commodities or services, nor shall any person canvass or solicit subscriptions or orders for immediate or future delivery of any such goods, wares, merchandise or services within the Town of Clarkstown, without first having obtained a license therefor upon written application to the Town Clerk. Additional authorization may be required in certain locations under private ownership.
This chapter shall not apply to:
The holder of a license granted pursuant to § 32 or § 35 of the General Business Law of the State of New York.
A wholesaler selling articles to dealers or merchants who have an established place of business within the Town.
Any person selling goods, wares, commodities or services regularly to those who are his established customers, patrons or purchasers.
Activities which are regulated by the New York State Insurance Law.
All persons and organizations who are exempted from the license requirements of § 208-7 of this chapter or not required to obtain a license under this chapter shall maintain and keep records identifying all persons selling, attempting to sell, or soliciting funds within the Town, and such records shall contain at least the name and the address of such person, the area in which such person sold or solicited and the date or dates of such sales or solicitation. Said records shall be made available for inspection by the Chief of Police upon request.
The application fee for such license shall be in an amount set by resolution of the Town Board and may be amended from time to time. It shall be paid by each person to be licensed hereunder, and said fee, payable to the Town Clerk, shall be applied to the cost of processing the license applications and otherwise enforcing and effectuating the objectives of this chapter.
Every applicant for a license shall submit to the Town Clerk a written verified application, blank forms of which are available from the Office of the Town Clerk. A license may be taken out only by an individual and not in the name of a firm, corporation, association, club or other group or business entity. Said application shall include, but not be limited to, the following information:
The name and the residence address of the applicant.
The applicant's date of birth, height, weight, color of eyes and color of hair.
The applicant's motor vehicle operator's license ID number.
The name and address of the applicant's employer or, if self-employed, the applicant's business name and address.
The applicant's place or places of residence for the past five years.
The applicant's business or businesses for the past five years with address or addresses.
Three photographs, two inches by two inches, of the applicant taken not more than 60 days prior to the date of filing of the application, showing the full face and shoulders of the applicant.
Whether or not the applicant has ever been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or violation of any municipal ordinance (other than traffic violations), and if so, a statement setting forth in each instance the offenses, in what courts and a description of the sentences imposed.
Whether any license previously issued to the applicant for hawking, peddling or soliciting for orders was ever revoked, and if so, a statement setting forth in each instance the license authority, the date of revocation and the reason therefor.
If the applicant is employed by or under contract with another person, firm or corporation, the name and address of such person, together with appropriate evidence of the employment or contract and the applicant's relationship and authority to represent the person.
If the applicant proposes to use or operate a vehicle in connection with these proposed activities in the Town of Clarkstown, a description of the vehicle, together with registration data thereof, and the operator's license number of the person operating the vehicle.
A brief description of the goods, wares, merchandise or services proposed to be sold, offered for sale or disposed of, the place of production, manufacture, publication or printing thereof, as the case may be, and the place from which any such goods, wares, merchandise or services are proposed to be forwarded to a prospective vendee within the Town of Clarkstown.
When the application is properly completed and signed by the applicant, the original and duplicate thereof shall be filed with the Town Clerk, and within two business days the Town Clerk shall refer the original to the Chief of Police, who shall make or cause to be made such investigation as is necessary to determine whether the applicant is satisfactory and advise the Town Clerk of his determination. The Town Clerk shall refuse to process an incomplete license application.
If, as a result of such an investigation, the applicant is found to be unsatisfactory, the Chief of Police shall endorse on such application his disapproval and his reasons therefor and shall return said application to the Town Clerk within five business days following the receipt of the referral. Any determination by the Chief of Police that an application is unsatisfactory shall only be based on one or more of the following findings with respect to the applicant:
The applicant is a New York State Level 3 sex offender or is the subject of an order of protection.
Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, burglary or violence.
The applicant is wanted by a law enforcement authority.
Prior violation of a peddling or soliciting ordinance or law.
Previous fraudulent acts or conduct.
Record of breaches of solicited contracts.
The application reveals a material misrepresentation of fact.
In the absence of any such finding, the Chief of Police shall find the application satisfactory, shall endorse his approval on the application and shall return the application to the Town Clerk within five business days following the receipt of the application.
If an application is found unsatisfactory by the Chief of Police and he has endorsed his disapproval upon the application, within two business days, the Town Clerk shall notify the applicant, by certified mail or personal service, that the application is disapproved and shall deny the applicant a license.
If an application is found satisfactory by the Chief of Police and he has endorsed his approval upon the application, within two business days, the Town Clerk shall notify the applicant, by certified mail or personal service, that the application is approved and, upon receipt of the fee, the Town Clerk shall grant the applicant a license specifying the particular business authorized. This license shall be nontransferable and will be valid for a period until the end of the calendar year that it was issued. It shall be in the continuous possession of the licensee while engaged in the business licensed. The license shall be produced upon the demand of any police officer or Code Enforcement Officer and shall be exhibited to each prospective buyer or person solicited before making any offer or solicitation.
Where an organization has several agents peddling, soliciting or distributing merchandise or printed material, each agent shall be registered separately, and each shall pay the appropriate fee. Upon the expiration of a license, a new license will be issued upon compliance with all the provisions of this chapter and the payment of fees.
A license shall be issued only to and in the name of a natural person. Every such license shall be personal to the licensee and shall not be transferable.
A license shall be valid to and including the 31st day of December in the same calendar year as the date of the license, unless previously suspended or revoked as provided by law.
The Town Clerk shall keep a record of all applications, of all licenses issued in accordance with this chapter and the date of revocation of all licenses revoked.
The Town Clerk shall supply badges to licensed hawkers, peddlers and solicitors. Such badges shall not be transferred or assigned. A picture of the applicant/licensee shall appear on the badge with the Town Seal imprinted on same. On expiration of the license, the licensee shall surrender his badge to the Town Clerk. It shall also be unlawful for any person to wear or have in his possession such badge unless the license is issued. Such licensee, while exercising his license, shall wear the badge, as provided, fully visible on the front of his outermost garment. A deposit for the badge will be set in the schedule of fees by the Town Board. The deposit will be returned upon the return of the badge at the expiration of the license.
No licensee shall use duress or abusive language, not in any manner harass or intimidate, any occupant or owner of a residence during the course of any solicitation. Each licensee shall, regardless of whether he shall have a prior express invitation or not, exhibit his license to the owner or occupant prior to entry in or upon a residence, whether or not required to do so by such owner or occupant.
A licensed person shall:
Not willfully misstate any fact about any article or service offered for sale.
Not willfully offer for sale any article of an unwholesome or defective nature.
Not call attention to his goods by blowing a horn, by ringing a bell, other than a house doorbell, by shouting or crying or by any loud or unusual noise, except that peddlers of ice cream and ice cream products for immediate consumption are exempted from the foregoing prohibition of the use of a bell.
Not frequent any street, sidewalk or public place so as to cause a private or public nuisance.
Keep any vehicle or receptacle used by him in his licensed business in a sound, clean and sanitary condition.
Keep any edible articles offered for sale well protected from dirt, dust and insects.
Deliver to every person to whom a sale is made or from whom an order is taken a legibly written receipt, signed and dated by the licensee, setting out the total price, a description of the goods or services sold or ordered and a statement of any payment received by the licensee.
Not enter upon any residential premises clearly displaying a sticker provided by the Town or any sign with letters at least one inch in height reading PEDDLERS AND SOLICITORS PROHIBITED, NO TRESPASSING, DO NOT KNOCK, or similar language.
Leave all premises promptly upon request of any occupant of such premises.
Permit any vehicle from which products are sold to stand or remain for more than 10 minutes on the same street or place.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter to the contrary, no person shall hawk, peddle or vend or solicit orders for any goods, wares, merchandise or services within the Town of Clarkstown before the hour of 9:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m., or at any time on Sundays.
Any owner or occupant of property located in the Town who wishes to prohibit soliciting on the premises shall complete a form available in the Town Attorney's office and on the Town's website. The completion of the form will allow the owner/occupant's premises to be included on a list of properties that do not permit solicitation (herein referred to as the "Do-Not-Knock Registry" or "registry"). Stickers prohibiting solicitation may be obtained from the Office of the Town Attorney.
In order to be removed from the registry, the owner and/or occupant must complete a form indicating that he/she does not want his/her property to be included on the registry.
All solicitors shall obtain the current Do-Not-Knock Registry from the Town Clerk at the time of issuance of a permit or at the time of registration to solicit pursuant to the provisions of this chapter. The Office of the Town Attorney shall provide the Town Clerk with the latest registry.
Solicitors shall not solicit at any premises identified on the then-current Do-Not-Knock Registry, or at any premises displaying a sign or sticker prohibiting soliciting, trespassing or knocking.
It shall be the responsibility of the solicitor to obtain updated copies of the registry from the Town Clerk or from the Town's website and carry it with them while engaging in soliciting activities. If a copy of the current Do-Not-Knock Registry is obtained from the Town Clerk, payment of a copying fee will be required.
Activities related to a service requested by the owner or occupant of the property and undertaken in the ordinary course of business, including, but not limited to, deliveries of utility notices, telephone directory deliveries, regular newspaper deliveries, work order notices and service inquiries, are presumed to be requested or invited for the purpose of this section.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the distribution of leaflets, pamphlets or other literature, such as commercial, political or religious material, distributed in a lawful manner, nor shall it limit the activities of entities with whom the Town of Clarkstown presently has a franchise agreement, in force at the time of the passage of this section, for the current duration of said franchise agreements.
Any police officer or Code Enforcement Officer of the Town of Clarkstown with the authority to issue appearance tickets may require any person peddling, hawking, vending or soliciting, and who is not known by such officer to be duly licensed, to produce his license, and any Police Officer or Code Enforcement Officer shall enforce the provisions of this chapter against any person found to be violating the same.
The Chief of Police or the Town Attorney shall report to the Town Clerk all convictions for violation of this chapter. The Town Clerk shall maintain a record for each license issued and record the reports of violations therein. No person shall be entitled to apply for a license under this chapter who shall have been previously convicted of a violation of this chapter.
Whenever the Town Clerk shall have probable cause to believe that any person to whom a license has been issued under this chapter has violated any of the provisions of this chapter or that any promoter, agent or solicitor of a permit holder has misrepresented the purpose of the solicitation, the Town Clerk shall immediately suspend the license temporarily and give the license holder written notice, by certified mail, of a hearing to be held within two days of such temporary suspension to determine whether or not the license should be suspended. This notice must contain a statement of the facts upon which the Town Clerk has acted in suspending the license. If, after such hearing, the Town Clerk finds that the chapter has been violated and the purpose of the solicitation has been misrepresented, he or she shall, within two days after the hearing, suspend the license and give the applicant written notice of the suspension and the reasons therefor. Such suspension shall be appealable to the Town Board in the manner set forth in § 208-24 of this chapter, except that the Town Clerk shall bear the burden of proof. Any conviction of the license holder, his employees, agents or representatives of a violation of any provision of this chapter shall be prima facie grounds for suspension.
Licenses issued under the provisions of this chapter may be revoked by the Town Board after notice and hearing for any of the following causes:
Fraud, misrepresentation or a materially incorrect statement contained in the application for a license.
Fraud, misrepresentation or a materially incorrect statement made in the course of carrying on the business of solicitor, peddler, distributor or transient merchant.
Any violation of this chapter.
Conviction of any crime, misdemeanor or violation.
Conducting the business of peddler, solicitor, distributor or transient merchant in an unlawful manner or in such manner as to constitute a breach of the peace or to constitute a menace to the health, safety or general welfare of the public.
A notice of the hearing for the revocation of a license shall be given by the Town Clerk, in writing, setting forth specifically the grounds of complaint and the time and place of the hearing. Such notice shall be mailed, postage prepaid, to the holder of the license at the address given on the application at least five days prior to the date set for the hearing or shall be delivered by an agent of the Town in the same manner as a summons at least three days prior to the date set for the hearing.
Any person aggrieved by the action of the Chief of Police or of the Town Clerk in the denial of a license, as provided in § 208-11 of this chapter, shall have the right of appeal to the Town Board. Such appeal shall be taken by filing with the Board, within 14 days after the notice of the action complained of has been mailed to such person's last-known address, a written statement setting forth fully the grounds for such appeal. The Town Board shall set a time and place for a hearing on such appeal, and notice of such hearing shall be given in the same manner as provided in § 208-22 of this chapter for notice of hearing on revocation. The decision of the Town Board on such appeal shall be final and conclusive.
Any person found guilty of a violation of any provision of this chapter shall be punished by a fine of up to $2,500. Any person found guilty of a second offense of any provision of this chapter within 18 months of the date of the first conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than $2,500 and not more than $5,000. Any person found guilty of a third offense of any provision of this chapter within 18 months of the date of the second conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than $7,500 and not more than $10,000. Any person found guilty of a fourth or subsequent offense of any provision of this chapter within 18 months of the date of the third conviction shall be punished by a fine of not less than $10,000 and not more than $15,000. The continuation of an offense against the provisions of this chapter shall constitute, for each day the offense is continued, a separate and distinct violation hereunder.
The provisions of this chapter are hereby declared to be severable. If any provision, clause, sentence or paragraph of this chapter or the application thereof to any person, establishment or circumstances shall be held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the other provisions or application of this chapter.