[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Colonial Heights 8-12-1975 as Ord. No. 75-29 (Ch. 26 of the 1975 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
It shall be unlawful for any solicitor or canvasser, as defined in § 221-2 of this chapter, to engage in such business within the corporate limits of the City of Colonial Heights without first obtaining a permit and license therefor in compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- CANVASSER or SOLICITOR
- Any individual, whether resident of the City of Colonial Heights or not, traveling either by foot, wagon, automobile, motor truck or any other type of conveyance, from place to place, from house to house or from street to street, taking or attempting to take orders for sale of goods, wares and merchandise, personal property of any nature whatsoever for future delivery or for services to be furnished or performed in the future, whether or not such individual has, carries or exposes for sale a sample of the subject of such sale or whether he is collecting advance payments on such sales or not, provided that such definition shall include any person who, for himself or for another person, firm or corporation, hires, leases, uses or occupies any building, structure, tent, railroad boxcar, boat, hotel room, lodging house, apartment, shop or any other place within the City for the sole purpose of exhibiting samples and taking orders for future delivery.
Applicants for permit and license under this chapter must file with the Commissioner of the Revenue a sworn application, in writing (in duplicate), on a form to be furnished by the Commissioner of the Revenue, which shall give the following information:
The name and address of the applicant.
The permanent home address and full local address of the applicant.
A brief description of the nature of the business and the goods to be sold.
If employed, the name and address of the employer, together with credentials establishing the exact relationship.
The length of time for which the right to do business is desired.
The place where the goods or property proposed to be sold, or orders taken for the sale thereof, are manufactured or produced, where such goods or products are located at the time said application is filed and the proposed method of delivery.
A photograph of the applicant, taken within 60 days immediately prior to the date of filing of the application, which picture shall be two inches by two inches, showing the head and shoulders of the applicant in a clear and distinguishing manner.
The fingerprints of the applicant and the names of at least two reliable property owners in the City of Colonial Heights, Virginia, who will certify as to the applicant's good character and business respectability or, in lieu of the names of references, such other available evidence as to the good character and business responsibility of the applicant as will enable an investigator to properly evaluate such character and business responsibility.
A statement as to whether or not the applicant has been convicted of any crime or misdemeanor within the last five years, the nature of the offense and the punishment or penalty assessed therefor.
A statement by a reputable physician licensed by the State of Virginia, dated not more than 30 days prior to submission of the application, certifying the applicant to be free of contagious, infectious or communicable disease.
At the time of filing the application, a fee of $5 shall be paid to the City Clerk to cover the cost of investigation of the facts stated therein.
Upon receipt of such application, the original shall be referred to the Chief of Police, who shall cause such investigation of the applicant's business and moral character to be made as he deems necessary for the protection of the public good.
If, as a result of such investigation, the applicant's character or business responsibility is found to be unsatisfactory, the Chief of Police shall endorse on such application his disapproval and his reasons for the same and return said application to the Commissioner of the Revenue, who shall notify the applicant that this application is disapproved and that no permit and license shall be issued.
If, as a result of such investigation, the character and business responsibility of the applicant are found to be satisfactory, the Chief of Police shall endorse on the application his approval, execute a permit addressed to the applicant for the carrying on of the business applied for and return said permit along with the application to the Commissioner of the Revenue, who shall, upon payment of the prescribed license fee, deliver to the applicant his permit and issue a license. Such license shall contain the signature and seal of the issuing officer and shall show the name, address and photograph of said licensee, the class of license issued and the kind of goods to be sold thereunder, the amount of fee paid, the date of issuance and the length of time the same shall be operative, as well as the license number and other identifying description of any vehicles used in such soliciting or canvassing. The Commissioner of the Revenue shall keep a permanent record of all licenses issued.
The license fee which shall be charged by the City Clerk for such license shall be $10 per year.
The annual fees herein provided shall be assessed on a calendar-year basis, and on or after July 1, the amount of such fee for an annual license shall be 1/2 the amount stipulated above for the remainder of the year.
None of the license fees provided for by this chapter shall be so applied as to occasion an undue burden upon interstate commerce. In any case where a license fee is believed by a licensee or applicant for license to place an undue burden upon such commerce, he may apply to the City Manager for an adjustment of the fee so that it shall not be discriminatory, unreasonable or unfair as to such commerce. Such application may be made before, at or within six months after payment of the prescribed license fee. The applicant shall, by affidavit and supporting testimony, show his method of business and the gross volume or estimated gross volume of business and such other information as the City Manager may deem necessary in order to determine the extent, if any, of such undue burden of such commerce. The City Manager shall then conduct an investigation, comparing the applicant's business with other businesses of like nature, and shall make findings of fact from which he shall determine whether the fee fixed by this chapter is unfair, unreasonable or discriminatory as to the applicant's business and shall fix as the license fee for the applicant an amount that is fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory or, if the fee has already been paid, shall order a refund of the amount over and above the fee so fixed. In fixing the fee to be charged, the City Manager shall have the power to base the fee upon a percentage of gross sales or any other method which will assure that the fee assessed shall be uniform with that assessed on business of like nature, so long as the amount assessed does not exceed the fee as prescribed by § 221-5A of this chapter. Should the City Manager determine the gross sales measure of the fee to be the fair basis, he may require the applicant to submit, either at the time of termination of applicant's business in the City of Colonial Heights or at such the end of each three-month period, a sworn statement of the gross sales and pay the amount of fee therefor, provided that no additional fee during any one calendar year shall be required after the licensee shall have paid an amount equal to the annual license as prescribed in § 221-5A of this chapter.
Every applicant not a resident of the City of Colonial Heights or who, being a resident of the City of Colonial Heights, represents a firm whose principal place of business is located outside the State of Virginia shall file with the City Clerk a surety bond, running to the city, in the amount of $1,000, with surety acceptable to and approved by the City Attorney, conditioned that said applicant shall comply fully with all the provisions of the ordinances of the City of Colonial Heights and the statutes of the State of Virginia regulating and concerning the business of solicitor and guaranteeing to any citizen of the City of Colonial Heights that all money paid as down payment will be accounted for and applied according to the representations of the solicitor, and further guaranteeing to any citizen of the City of Colonial Heights doing business with said solicitor that the property purchased will be delivered according to the representations of said solicitor. Action on such bond may be brought in the name of the City to the use or benefit of the aggrieved person.
The Commissioner of the Revenue shall issue to each licensee at the time of delivery of his license a badge which shall contain the word "Licensed Solicitor," the period for which the license is issued and the number of the license, in letters and figures easily discernible from a distance of 10 feet. Such badge shall, during the time such licensee is engaged in soliciting, be worn constantly by the licensee on the front of his outer garment in such a way as to be conspicuous.
Solicitors and canvassers are required to exhibit their licenses at the request of any citizen.
It shall be the duty of any police officer of the City of Colonial Heights to require any person seen soliciting or canvassing, and who is not known by such officer to be duly licensed or exempt, to produce his solicitor's or canvasser's license and to enforce the provisions of this chapter against any person found to be violating the same.
The Chief of Police shall report to the Commissioner of the Revenue all convictions for violation of this chapter, and the Commissioner of the Revenue shall maintain a record for such license issued and record the reports of violation therein.
Permits and licenses issued under the provisions of this chapter may be revoked by the City Manager of the City of Colonial Heights, after notice and hearing, for any of the following causes:
Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement contained in the application for license;
Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement made in the course of carrying on his business as solicitor or as canvasser;
Any violation of this chapter;
Conviction of any crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; or
Conducting the business of soliciting or of canvassing in an unlawful manner or in such a manner as to constitute a breach of the peace or to constitute a menace to the health, safety or general welfare of the public.
Notice of the hearing for revocation of a license shall be given in writing, setting forth specifically the grounds of complaint and the time and place of hearing. Such notice shall be mailed, postage prepaid, to the licensee at his last known address at least five days prior to the date set for hearing.
Any person aggrieved by the action of the Chief of Police or the Commissioner of the Revenue in the denial of a permit or license, as provided in § 221-4 of this chapter, or the action of the City Manager in the assessing of the fee as provided in § 221-5C of this chapter shall have the right of appeal to the Council of the City of Colonial Heights. Such appeal shall be taken by filing with the Council, within 14 days after 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 the appeal. The Council shall set a time and place for a hearing on such appeal, and notice of such hearing shall be given to the appellant in the same manner as provided in § 221-11 of this chapter for notice of public hearing on revocation. The decision and order of the Council on such appeal shall be final and conclusive.
All annual licenses issued under the provisions of this chapter shall expire on the 31st of December in the year when issued. Licenses other than annual licenses shall expire on the date specified in the license.
Every person, firm or corporation which is exempt from paying federal and state income tax by reason of the charitable or eleemosynary nature of its occupation shall be exempt from the operation of the sections dealing with regulation and licensing of solicitors and canvassers, provided that it is pursuing the charitable and eleemosynary purposes for which the exemption was granted.