Peddling & Soliciting


[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Yorktown 10-1-1991 by L.L. No. 31-1991. Amendments noted where applicable.]
§ 219-1. Title; intent; findings of fact. [Amended 9-16-1992 by L.L. No. 18-1992]

A. This chapter shall be known as the “Peddling, Soliciting and Canvassing Law of the Town of Yorktown.” It is a chapter regulating peddling, soliciting and canvassing to preserve the safety, health, welfare and peace and general good order of the town and its inhabitants.
B. It is the intent of the Town of Yorktown to assure peddling, soliciting and canvassing in the town is conducted in a safe, peaceful manner without inconvenience to town residents. The Town of Yorktown is particularly committed to ensuring that peddling and soliciting within the town is conducted in a safe manner. It is hereby found that to adequately protect motorist and pedestrian safety, it is necessary to regulate peddling and soliciting along the state highways within the Town of Yorktown. These sections of state highways are all heavily trafficked at high speeds. Police records indicate a relatively high number of accidents along these areas. Ingress and egress from the rights-of-way and sides of these areas, particularly across traffic, presents an unsafe condition for motorist(s). In fact, due to potential safety hazards, Subdivision (c) of § 1157 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law prohibits any person from peddling or soliciting from any section of a state highway. However, § 32 of the General Business Law provides in relevant part that every honorably discharged member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is a New York State resident and a veteran of any war shall have the right to peddle or sell goods upon the streets and highways within the county of his or her residence by procuring a license for that purpose. Thus, for certain war veterans, § 32 of the General Business Law carves out an exception to the rule that no person shall peddle or solicit from a state highway. However, this privilege is purely personal to such veterans and has no application to any associate, partner or employee of the licensee. Moreover, this privilege is further limited by the fact that under Subdivision 8 of § 32 of the General Business Law, any veteran holding a veteran’s license is made subject to any local law or ordinance requiring a further application to the city, village or town for the issuance of a local license. While the right to peddle the veteran’s ware may be prohibited altogether by such ordinance, the Town Board has decided to reasonably regulate veteran peddling on state highways to assure public safety and welfare.
C. It is hereby found that to adequately protect motorist and pedestrian safety, it is necessary to prohibit peddling and soliciting by war veterans along the following sections of state highways, including any area which requires ingress and egress along these areas: (1) Along Route 6 between Hill Boulevard and the point 750 feet past the westerly side of Sunnyside Street.
(2) Along Route 6 between the point 1,250 feet east of Mountain Brook Road and the point 1,250 feet east of Mountain Brook Road.

§ 219-2. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, certain words used herein are defined as follows:

CANVASSER — Any person who, by going from house to house or place of business to place of business or any combination thereof, predominantly seeks contributions, fundraisers, petitions, solicits membership, disseminates information or conducts activities which would not be characteristic of a peddler or solicitor.
ESTABLISHED PLACE OF BUSINESS — A building, store or depository in which or where the person transacts business and deals in goods, wares, merchandise or services in the ordinary and regular course of business.
PEDDLER — Any person who, in any street or public place or by going from house to house or from place to place, or any combination thereof, on foot or from any vehicle, sells or barters or offers for sale or barter or carries or displays for sale or barter any goods, wares, merchandise or services. For the purposes of this chapter, the entity which engages a person as their agent for the purposes of peddling is also considered a “peddler,” within the meaning of this section, and is subject to all provisions herein.
PERSON — Any individual, including veterans of the armed forces of the United States, firm, co partnership, corporation, company, association or joint-stock association, church, religious sect, religious denomination, society, organizations or league, and includes any trustee, receiver, assignee, agent or other representative thereof.
SOLICITOR — Any person, either principal or agent, traveling either by foot or by any conveyance from place to place, from house to house, from street to street or from place to place, or any combination thereof, who takes or offers to take orders for the sale of any goods, wares or merchandise, for present or future delivery, or for the performance of future services, whether or not he collects advance payments for such sale or service. For the purposes of this chapter, the entity which engages a person or their agent for the purpose of soliciting, is also considered a solicitor within the meaning of this section and is subject to all provisions herein.
STATE HIGHWAY — Highways within the Town of Yorktown classified as state highways pursuant to Highway Law § 3, Subdivision 1, and/or designated as such on the Official Highway Map of the New York State Department of Transportation showing the location of state highways.

§ 219-3. License required.

It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in the business of peddler or solicitor as defined in § 219-2 of this Chapter without having first obtained and having in force and effect a license therefor as herein provided.

§ 219-4. Exemptions.

Nothing contained in this chapter shall be deemed to apply to any of the following:

A. A sale conducted pursuant to an order of any court.
B. A wholesaler selling articles to dealers or merchants who have an established place of business in town.
C. Any person selling goods, wares, merchandise or services regularly to those who are his established customers, patrons or purchasers.
D. Any candidate running for a governmental office or his representatives.
E. A child 18 years of age or under who resides within the Town of Yorktown and who solicits or peddles on behalf of a charitable, religious, athletic, social, educational or civic organization, including but not limited to the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Brownie Scouts, clubs, classes or organizations sponsored by the Lakeland or Yorktown High School of which such child is a member.
F. The peddling of meats, fish, fruit and farm produce by farmers and persons who produce such commodities on their own land, provided that they have otherwise complied with all applicable licensing and health and safety requirements of any other competent governmental body or agency, as well as the Zoning Code of the town, and the sale takes place from a stationery location upon property owned or leased by the seller of such goods.
G. A not-for-profit organization’s sale of food ancillary to a fundraising event, such as a picnic or carnival, that lasts no longer than five consecutive days. This exemption shall not apply to any door-to-door peddling or soliciting. [Added 9-16-1992 by L.L. No. 18-1992]

§ 219-5. Application for license.

A. Each applicant for a license hereunder shall submit to the Town Clerk a written verified application containing the following information: (1) The name, address, date of birth, social security number and motorist identification number of such person and the name of the corporation, firm, association, club, partnership or any other organization represented by such person.
(2) A description of the vehicle which the applicant wishes to use in carrying out the activity for which a license is sought.
(3) The name and address of all entities whose property, goods or services the applicant wishes to sell or solicit orders for.
(4) An itemized statement of all property, goods or services the applicant wishes to sell or solicit orders for.
(5) County Health Department permit number, if a food vendor.
(6) If the applicant intends to hawk or peddle by going from house to house or place to place, the route to be followed, the dates and times of peddling or soliciting.
(7) Two business references located in the County of Westchester, State of New York or, in lieu thereof, such other available evidence of the character and business responsibility of the applicant as will enable the town to properly evaluate such character and responsibility.
(8) The names and addresses of all partners, if a partnership, and the names and addresses of all officers, directors and stockholders, if a corporation.
(9) If the applicant is a nonprofit corporation of the State of New York, a certified copy of its certificate of incorporation, together with any amendments or supplements thereto.
(10) Designation of persons upon whom service may be made.
(11) Such other information as the Town Board or Town Clerk may determine from time to time.

B. Such application shall be accompanied by three photographs of the applicant, two inches by two inches in size, taken within 30 days prior to the date of filing of the application, full face on a white background.
C. Each applicant shall submit one set of fingerprints to the Chief of Police or his designated representative. Such fingerprints shall be maintained by the Town Clerk for the purpose of identification.

§ 219-6. Issuance or denial of license.

A. The Town Clerk and the Police Department shall investigate all applications, once properly completed and duly signed by the applicant.
B. After completing the investigation pursuant to Subsection A above, the Chief of Police or his designated representatives shall forward to the Town Clerk his recommendation as to either granting or denying the application. No license shall be issued until the Chief of Police or his designated representative has indicated, in writing, his recommendation thereof.
C. The Town Clerk may deny any application for cause, after written notice, for the reasons following, including but not limited to: (1) Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement in the application for the license.
(2) Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement made in the course of carrying out the applicant’s trade, business or occupation.
(3) Prior violation of a peddling or soliciting ordinance or law.
(4) Records of breaches of solicited contracts.
(5) Conviction of a felony or a misdemeanor which, in the judgment of the Town Clerk or Chief of Police, renders the applicant unfit or undesirable, except by a vote of the Town Board.
(6) Carrying out of the licensed business, trade or occupation in an unlawful manner or in such a way as to breach the peace or as to endanger the public health, safety or general welfare.
(7) Incomplete application.

D. If an application is denied, the Clerk shall notify the applicant by certified mail at the address indicated on the application that the application is disapproved and shall deny the applicant a license.
E. Upon receipt of the following: a completed application; a favorable report of the Police Chief’s investigation; and the requisite fee; and upon compliance with all the requirements of this chapter, the Town Clerk shall issue a license to the applicant specifying the particular business authorized. The dates of the issuance and expiration of the license, as well as the specific nature of the business, shall be set forth on the face thereof.
F. Where an organization or entity has more than one agent peddling or soliciting, each agent shall be licensed 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, except that the investigation and processing period therefor may be waived by the Town Clerk.

§ 219-7. License fee.

The fees for licenses issued hereunder are hereby set as follows:

A. Principal peddling or soliciting from a vehicle: $500.
B. Each additional agent peddling or soliciting from a particular vehicle: $50.
C. Any person, either principal or agent, peddling or soliciting by foot: $50.
D. Provided that such person has completed the application for a license and has met all other requirements as set forth in this chapter for issuance of a license, there shall be no fee for such license for an honorably discharged member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is the holder of a license issued pursuant to § 32 of the General Business Law of the State of New York.

§ 219-8. Expiration licenses.

All licenses issued hereunder shall automatically expire on December 31 of the year of its issuance.

§ 219-9. Renewals of licenses.

Licenses are nonrenewable. Each person shall file with the Town Clerk a complete application as set forth in § 219-5 on a yearly basis, except that the requirements of § 219-5C pertaining to fingerprints need only be submitted once by each individual.

§ 219-10. Display, transferability and use of license.

A. The license shall be carried on the person of the licensee at all times when engaging in peddling or soliciting. A picture of the licensee shall appear on the valid license with the Town Seal imprinted on the same. Every person peddling or soliciting within this town shall produce the license issued hereunder and exhibit the same to any person or officer requesting same. In the case of any soliciting license, the license must be worn and displayed in a prominent place on the person of the licensee at all times when the licensee is engaging in soliciting. The inability or refusal of any person to produce such license shall be presumptive evidence that such person is peddling or soliciting without a license in violation of this chapter. [Amended 11-19-1996 by L.L. No. 23-1996]
B. The license shall not be transferable or assignable. Should a licensee permit any other person to possess or use such license, such license shall automatically be revoked, and the licensee shall thereby be guilty of violating this chapter, and no application for a further license may be made for a period of 18 months from the date of revocation.

§ 219-11. Canvasser registration and approval.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in the business of canvasser, as defined in § 219-2 of this chapter, without having first officially registered with the Town Clerk. Registrants shall complete forms provided by the Town Clerk which shall require, but not be limited to, the following information: (1) The name and address of such organization, firm, association, club, corporation or partnership.
(2) The name, address, date of birth and social security number of such person(s) who will represent the organization.
(3) Two photographs of each registrant, two inches by two inches in size, taken within 30 days prior to the date of filing of the registration, full face on a white background.
(4) The current tax status (i.e., whether tax exempt, not-for-profit, etc.).
(5) Proof of registration with the Department of State Office of Charities Registration and/or the Attorney General Charities Bureau.
(6) Sample literature.
(7) The date and state of incorporation, along with a copy of the Articles of Incorporation.
(8) The dates and times canvassing is to take place.
(9) A list of streets, roads or neighborhoods where the canvassing is to take place.

B. The Town Clerk and Police Department shall investigate all registrations, once properly completed and duly signed by the applicant. After completing their investigation, the Police Department shall forward to the Town Clerk their recommendations as to whether the registrant shall be granted the permission to canvass within the town.
C. The Town Clerk may refuse to officially register any canvasser for cause, after written notice, for the reasons following, including but limited to: (1) Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement in the registration form.
(2) Fraud, misrepresentation or false statement made in the course of canvassing activities.
(3) Conviction of a felony or a misdemeanor which, in the judgment of the Town Clerk or Chief of Police, renders the registrant unfit or undesirable, except by a vote of the Town Board.
(4) Evidence of carrying out of canvassing activities in an unlawful manner or in such a way as to breach the peace or as to endanger the public health, safety or general welfare.
(5) Incomplete registration form.

D. Upon receipt of a completed application, favorable report of the Police Chief’s investigation, the requisite fee and upon compliance with all the requirements of this chapter, the Town Clerk shall officially recognize the registration of the subject canvasser, specifying the particular canvassing authorized. The date of the recognition and expiration of the registration, the name and specific nature of the canvassing organization, as well as the canvasser’s name and photograph, shall be included on an identification card to be provided for each canvasser by its canvassing organization.
E. Each organization shall renew its registration on a yearly basis by providing the Town Clerk with a current list of the names, addresses, dates of birth and social security numbers of its canvassers, as well as the times, dates and places it intends to canvass and current pictures of each canvasser.

§ 219-12. Regulations and restrictions.

A. Licensed peddlers and solicitors or registered canvassers shall not: (1) Enter upon private or public property for the purpose of soliciting, peddling or canvassing before the hour of 10:00 a.m. or after the hour of 8:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday. In the case of motor vehicles selling food, the hours of operation shall be extended from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. June 15 through September 15. There shall be no house-to-house soliciting or peddling on weekends, except upon the express invitation of the householder or occupant. [Amended 9-16-1992 by L.L. No. 18-1992]
(2) Permit any vehicle used in such business to stand or remain: [Amended 8-4-1992 by L.L. No. 15-1992; 9-16-1992 by L.L. No. 18-1992] (a) Within the right-of-way or along the side of any section of state highway, as well as any area that requires ingress or egress from a state highway. However, pursuant to the limited exemption granted under § 32 of the General Business Law, honorably discharged veterans may peddle or solicit from portions of state highways the Town Board deems suitable for such activity. This privilege is purely personal to such veterans and has no application to any spouse, relative, associate, partner or employee of the licensee. Areas of state highway which the Town Board deems unsuitable for peddling or soliciting and where no peddling or soliciting shall take place by a veteran, either within the right-of-way or any other area that requires ingress or egress within such area of state highway, include the following: [1] Along Route 6 between Hill Boulevard and the point 750 feet past the westerly side of Sunnyside Street.
[2] Along Route 6 between the point 1,250 feet west of Mountain Brook Road and the point 1,250 feet east of Mountain Brook Road.

(b) On any crosswalk.
(c) Within 50 feet of any corner or turn or curve in a highway.
(d) Within 50 feet of a decrease in lanes of a highway.
(e) Within 50 feet of the confines of any intersection;
(f) Within 150 feet of any school, church or building in which religious services are held, during school hours or hours of public worship.
(g) Within 750 feet of any residential lot line for lots that contain residential units.

(3) Call attention to his goods by blowing a horn, by ringing a bell other than a house doorbell, or 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. Freestanding signs are strictly prohibited.
(4) Frequent any street, sidewalk or public place so as to cause a private or public nuisance.
(5) Create, erect or maintain any booth or shed or place any barrels, boxes, crates or other obstructions upon any street, public place or private property for selling or exposing for sale any goods, wares or merchandise.
(6) Have any exclusive right to any location in the public streets, nor shall any be permitted a stationary location, nor shall any be permitted to operate in a congested area where such operation might inconvenience the public or compromise the safety, health or general welfare of the public. For the purpose of this chapter, the judgment of any police officer exercised in good faith shall be deemed conclusive as to whether such operation inconveniences the public or compromises the safety, health or general welfare of the public.
(7) Peddle, solicit or canvass on private or public property which has displayed a sign bearing the words “No Peddling, Soliciting or Canvassing” or words of like intent, nor shall any peddler, solicitor or canvasser remain on the premises after the owner or occupant thereof requests his departure therefrom.
(8) Resort to deceptive acts or practices, physical abuse, threats, intimidation or harassment in the course of conducting his business or offer for sale any provision, food or merchandise that is unwholesome, unfit or is otherwise harmful to the user or consumer thereof.
(9) Frequent any street, sidewalk or public place which is within 200 feet of an established place of business, as defined in this chapter. [Added 11-19-1996 by L.L. No. 23-1996]

B. Persons peddling or soliciting from a motor vehicle shall not keep or maintain items outside said vehicle, including but not limited to: tables, chairs, umbrellas or freestanding signs, except that an umbrella may be attached to said vehicles, and two lidded garbage cans, one for regular trash and one for recyclables, may be kept and maintained outside said vehicles. Additionally, one generator may be maintained outside a vehicle if the generator is not located within 750 feet of any residential lot line for lots that contain residential units. The generator must be kept within 20 feet of the motor vehicle. All vehicles and appurtenance shall be kept in a sound, clean and sanitary condition. [Amended 9-16-1992 by L.L. No. 18-1992]
C. Such license or registration shall include the right to use only one vehicle or conveyance in carrying out the business for which the person is licensed or registered. Said vehicle shall not have more than two axles nor be larger than 22 feet from front bumper to rear bumper. The use of any type of trailer shall be prohibited.
D. All orders taken by a licensed solicitor or peddler or registered canvasser for which he or she demands, accepts or receives payment of deposit of money in advance of final delivery shall be in writing, in duplicate, stating the terms thereof and the amount paid in advance, and one copy shall be given to the purchaser at the time of deposit or money is paid to the solicitor, peddler or canvasser. Such orders can be taken only in compliance with applicable state law, federal law and Federal Trade Commission rulings, and nothing herein shall be taken to waive such restrictions; all applicable sales tax shall be paid pursuant to state and federal laws.

§ 219-13. Seasonal sales.

A. Any person desiring a permit to conduct a seasonal sale (i.e., Christmas trees, pumpkins, etc.) shall submit an application, duly verified by the applicant, upon forms prescribed by the Town Clerk as set forth in § 219-5A and B. Additionally, the applicant shall submit a proposed location for the proposed sale.
B. Seasonal sales shall be permitted only in C-1, C-2, C-3, C-4 and C-R Zones, as those zones are defined by Chapter 300, Zoning. Such sale sites are subject to the approval of the Chief of Police and the Fire Marshal or their designated representatives, who shall consider among other things the traffic, building and fire safety for the proposed site.
C. The application must be filed no less than two weeks before the proposed sale is scheduled to begin.
D. The Town Clerk may deny any application or, once a permit has been issued, may revoke any permit, in accordance with § 219-14 herein. Upon such denial or revocation, the person may appeal the decision of the Town Board pursuant to § 219-15 herein.
E. The permit shall expire automatically one month after the date of its issuance. The permit shall be nonrenewable.
F. The amount of the permit fee shall be $100. Additionally, the applicant shall file with the Town Clerk a cleanup bond in the amount of $500, subject to the approval of the Town Attorney. Cleanup of the site must be completed within one week of the conclusion of the sale. Said bond shall be released after an inspection of the site reveals that the site has been left in a clean and neat condition.
G. This section shall not apply to a retail establishment conducting a sale at its established place of business in the ordinary course of business.

§ 219-14. Revocation of license.

Licenses issued under the provisions of this chapter may be revoked by the Town Clerk for cause after written notice, including but not limited to the same reasons for denying an application listed above in § 219-6C.

§ 219-15. Appeals.

Any person aggrieved by the action of the Town Clerk in the denial or revocation of a license as provided herein may 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, a written statement which sets forth the grounds for appeal. The Town Board shall set a time and place for a hearing on such appeal, and notice of such hearing shall be published in the local newspaper no more than 20 days nor less than 10 days prior to such hearing. Such notice shall also be served personally or by certified mail to the applicant, licensee or registrant at the address provided on his application at least five days prior to the date set for the hearing. The decision of the Town Board on such appeal shall be final and conclusive.

§ 219-16. Recordkeeping.

The Town Clerk shall keep a record of all applications, licenses, registrations and revocations hereunder.

§ 219-17. Penalties for offenses.

A. Any person who peddles or solicits without first obtaining the registration required hereunder shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine equal to the amount of the fee for the requisite permit, plus an additional fine of not more than $500 and/or imprisonment for not more than 15 days.
B. Any person who canvasses without first obtaining the registration required hereunder shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $500.
C. Any person who violates any provision of the chapter other than those set forth in §§ 219-17A and B above shall be guilty of a violation punishable by a fine not to exceed $250, and/or imprisonment for not more than 30 days, except that after the first violation, the person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 and/or imprisonment for not more than 15 days.
D. Each day on which any violation continues shall constitute a separate and distinct violation hereunder.