[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Falls Township 9-16-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-09. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Junkyards and junk dealers — See Ch. 141.
Licensed businesses — See Ch. 145.
Pawnbrokers and dealers in precious metals and secondhand goods — See Ch. 169.
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided for the repeal of former Ch. 173, Peddling and Soliciting, adopted 9-6-1955, as amended.
The Board of Supervisors of Falls Township finds and declares that the provisions of this chapter are enacted to establish regulations regarding solicitation, peddling and canvassing within Falls Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Except as otherwise indicated, all provisions in this chapter shall be applied to all solicitation, peddling and canvassing within the jurisdictional boundaries of Falls Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have these meanings:
- A. One who engages in the practice of canvassing, the practice of going from dwelling unit to dwelling unit:
- (1) To conduct surveys for research purposes (other than those conducted by an agency of the state or federal government);
- (2) To make analyses, to take opinion polls, or to compile rating data;
- (3) To obtain or seek contributions for any person or organization or cause;
- (4) To advance religious or political causes and proselytizing with regard thereto; or
- (5) To conduct any similar work which, by its nature, involves door-to-door or place-to-place activity, including distribution of circulars, but not for commercial activity of any kind.
- B. For the purposes of § 173-12 only, a canvasser shall be considered a "solicitor."
- COMMERCIAL VEHICLE
- Any motor vehicle or combination used on a highway in intrastate commerce to transport passengers or property when the vehicle meets one of the following conditions:
- A. Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 17,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater.
- B. Is designed or used to transport more than eight passengers (including the driver) for compensation.
- C. Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation.
- DOOR-TO-DOOR SOLICITATION
- The activity of going onto the premises of other persons, without prior arrangement with the owner or occupant of such premises, for the principal purpose of the sale or taking of orders for future sales of any type of tangible goods, including, but not limited to, books, magazines, or other periodicals, or to enter into any agreement for the provision of services, or any combination of the sale of goods or provision of services, or the distribution of advertising circulars relating to the sale of goods or provision of services.
- DOOR-TO-DOOR SOLICITOR
- A person engaging in the activity of door-to-door solicitation.
- RESIDENTIAL STREET
- A street that is the principal ingress and egress between dwelling units and a local street or major highway as referenced in § 191-31.
- STREET SALES
- The activity of a person selling any goods from any type of portable stand or table or in a vehicle located on any street, roadway or public right-of-way, except a sidewalk abutting a property of which such person is the owner or a lawful occupant thereof.
It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in commercial or business solicitation, hawking, peddling and/or canvassing for the purpose of soliciting orders, sales or subscriptions for any goods, wares or merchandise, or for the purpose of soliciting or obtaining any business or commercial information, without first having registered with and obtained a license from the Township.
Any person seeking such a license, and not exempt by § 173-8, shall submit a written application to the Township, on a form provided by the Township, containing the following information:
The full name of the applicant and local address, if any.
The place and date of birth.
The permanent address of the applicant.
The address at which the applicant will receive notices under this chapter.
The name and address of his or her employer or principal, if any, and the nature of the business activity thereof.
The nature of the business or activity in which the applicant wishes to engage within the Township of Falls. This shall include what items the applicant is selling.
A statement as to whether the applicant has been convicted in any jurisdiction of any crime and, if so, where, when, the nature of the offense and the punishment and penalty imposed therefor.
A statement as to the name, address and nature of employment of the applicant's previous two places of employment.
A copy of valid government-issued photo identification.
Such other and further information as the Township may deem relevant and require from time to time.
The applicant shall, together with the application, and a nonrefundable fee of $25 made payable to the Township, submit to the Chief of Police of Falls Township his or her photograph and a written description of himself or herself.
The Chief of Police aforesaid shall review such application, and, if approved, a license shall be issued by said Chief of Police as hereinafter provided.
A door-to-door solicitation license shall not be issued to any person who:
Has previously been found guilty of violating any provision of this chapter.
Has been convicted, within the seven years preceding the date of the application for a license, of any theft or theft-related crime, fraud or any fraud-related crime, or any similar offense tending to show dishonesty of character.
A door-to-door solicitation license shall be revoked for any of the following reasons:
Conduct by any license holder that constitutes a violation of this chapter.
A license holder going upon premises either posted "No Solicitors" or "No Solicitation," or appearing on the No Solicitors or No Solicitation Registry provided for in § 173-13 of this chapter, or both.
Conduct by any license holder while on private premises that constitutes a summary offense or criminal act, including, but not limited to, defiant trespass.
In the event that a door-to-door solicitation license is revoked under this section, no administrative or other fees shall be refunded to the license holder.
In addition to providing the aforesaid information, the applicant shall pay a nonrefundable fee of $25 per license, made payable to the Township of Falls. Said license shall be issued for a defined period not to exceed 30 days. Upon submission of said application and after approval of the same, there shall be issued to the aforesaid applicant a license in the form of a card which, until revoked or expired, shall entitle the licensee to engage in the activities described in this chapter. The aforesaid license shall not automatically renew after expiration. Upon expiration of any license issued hereunder, each applicant may submit a new application, along with the required fee, if the applicant is in good standing and desires to renew the license. If a license is revoked for any reason provided for in this chapter, a new license will not be issued for 24 months from the revocation.
The following are exempt from the requirement to secure a license when conducting activities consistent with this chapter. However, no groups or organizations are exempt from the provisions of § 173-12, except for those individuals identified in § 173-8A below.
Officers or employees of the Township, county, state or federal government, or any subdivision thereof, when on official business.
Charitable, religious or nonprofit organizations or corporations which have received tax-exempt status under 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(3), or other similar civic, charitable or nonprofit organizations.
Representatives of political organizations and political candidates.
Activities and arrangements having prior consent of the occupant are exempt from the provisions of this chapter.
Farmers engaged in selling only the produce of their own farms from a truck or other vehicle.
Any honorably discharged soldier, sailor or marine of the military or naval service of the United States who is a resident of this commonwealth and who is unable to earn a livelihood by manual labor.
Persons who have been licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to engage in an activity described in this chapter hereof, when so engaged, including, without limitation, real estate, insurance and securities brokers and salesmen.
Every person to whom a license has been issued hereunder shall, in the carrying on of his or her activity in the Township of Falls, comply with the following rules of conduct:
He or she shall carry his or her license card at all times and have it displayed at all times.
He or she shall not permit any other person to have possession of the said license card and shall immediately report its loss to the Chief of Police.
He or she shall not cause or permit the license card to be altered or defaced.
He or she shall not enter or attempt to enter any dwelling house without invitation or permission of the occupant and shall immediately leave any premises upon request.
He or she shall not represent the aforesaid license card to be an endorsement of the licensee or of the goods or services of his or her principal or employer.
He or she shall immediately surrender the license card upon revocation of the license as hereinafter provided.
He or she shall carry at all times a valid government-issued photo identification.
He or she shall not park commercial vehicles on residential streets while engaging in door-to-door solicitation.
He or she shall not sell any product or type of product not mentioned in his or her application and license.
When operating from a vehicle, he or she shall not stop or park such vehicle upon any of the streets or alleys in the Township for longer than necessary in order to deliver such goods to persons residing or working in the immediate vicinity.
He or she shall not park any vehicle upon any of the streets or alleys in the Township for the purpose of displaying, selling, sorting, rearranging, or cleaning any of his or her goods, wares, or merchandise or of disposing of any carton, wrapping material, or stock, wares or foodstuffs which have become unsellable through handling, age or otherwise.
Solicitation shall only occur within the Township from Monday through Saturday between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. and shall not be permitted on federal holidays. Canvassers, as defined herein, shall only engage in the practice of canvassing between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Such canvassing activities may occur on any day.
No person shall engage in any "street sales," as defined in this chapter, unless he/she has received all necessary permits from the Township, including any license required in this chapter or any zoning permits, if applicable.
The owner or lawful occupant of any premises within the Township not desiring to have persons enter onto his/her premises may post on such premises a legible sign stating "No Solicitors," "No Solicitation," or words of similar meaning. Any door-to-door solicitor or canvasser who shall enter upon the premises in defiance of such sign shall be in violation of this section and shall be liable for the penalty provided for in § 173-16.
The owner or lawful occupant of any premises within the Township not desiring to have persons enter onto his or her premises, in addition to posting his or her premises according to § 173-12, may register with the Falls Township Police Department to have his or her address placed on a registry to be distributed to those door-to-door solicitors required to obtain a license under § 173-4. Door-to-door solicitors who enter onto premises appearing on the registry shall be subject to the penalty provided for in § 173-16.
The Township Manager shall provide written notice of revocation by personal service or registered mail to the address designated in the application for the license.
Any person whose license has been revoked shall be entitled to appear, with counsel, if he or she so desires, before the Board of Supervisors of Falls Township at a regular or special meeting and be heard in behalf of a request for reinstatement of the said license. This written request must be filed with the Township at least seven days before the next regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting. The Board of Supervisors may affirm, modify or reverse the Township Manager's revocation of the license. The decision of the Board of Supervisors shall be final.
Any person, firm or corporation who violates or permits a violation of this chapter shall be guilty of a summary violation and, upon conviction, shall be sentenced to pay a fine of no more than $1,000, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorneys' fees, incurred by the Township in the enforcement of this chapter. Each day a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense. In default of the payment of any fine, the defendant shall be sentenced to imprisonment to the extent allowed by law for the punishment of summary offenses. Further, the appropriate officers or agents of the Township are hereby authorized to file a citation for such summary violation and seek any other available relief at law or equity, including injunction, to enforce compliance with this chapter.