[HISTORY: Derived from Ch. IV, Sec. 4-5, of the Revised General Ordinances of the Borough of Fort Lee, 1978, adopted 3-1-1979. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to protect the people against the nuisance of, and incident to the promiscuous distribution of, handbills and circulars, particularly commercial handbills as herein defined, with the resulting detriment and danger to public health and safety; and public interest, convenience and necessity require the regulation thereof, and to that end the purposes of this chapter are specifically declared to be as follows:
To protect the people against the unlawful activities or operations of dissolute persons of criminal habits or tendencies, representing themselves as solicitors, canvassers or handbill distributors, by requiring the registration of all such solicitors, canvassers or handbill distributors, together with the names of their employers, and by regulating the business of handbill and advertising distribution through the imposition of reasonable license fees.
To protect local residents against trespassing by solicitors, canvassers or handbill distributors upon the private property of such residents if they have given reasonable notice that they do not wish to be solicited by such persons or do not desire to receive handbills or advertising matter.
To protect the people against the health and safety menace and the expense incident to the littering of the streets and public places by the promiscuous and uncontrolled distribution of advertising matter and commercial handbills.
To preserve to the people their constitutional right to receive and disseminate information not restricted under the ordinary rules of decency and good morals and public order, by distinguishing between the nuisance created by the promiscuous distribution of advertising and commercial circulars and the right to deliver noncommercial handbills to all who are willing to receive the same.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- BILL POSTER
- Any person engaging in the business for hire of posting, fastening, mailing or otherwise affixing any written, painted or printed matter of any kind, or other form or reproduction thereof (hereinafter called "sign"), containing a message or information of any kind whatsoever to any outdoor billboard, or to or upon any bridge, fence, pole, post, sidewalk, tree, or to or upon the exterior of any other structure, except that the terms of this definition shall not apply to or include any such sign mounted on, fastened to or suspended from the outside of any building or other structure, in accordance with and authorized by any provisions of an ordinance or statute, either for any public convenience or use, or regulating the construction or use of so-called outdoor display signs, whether such display signs are illuminated or not.
- COMMERCIAL HANDBILL
- Any printed or written matter, any sample or device, dodger, circular, leaflet, pamphlet, paper, booklet, or any other printed or otherwise reproduced original or copies of any matter or literature:
- (1) Which advertises for sale any merchandise, product, commodity or thing; or
- (2) Which directs attention to any business or mercantile or commercial establishment or other activity, for the purpose of either directly or indirectly promoting the interest thereof by sales; or
- (3) Which directs attention to or advertises any meeting, theatrical performance, exhibition, or event of any kind, for which an admission fee is charged for the purpose of private gain or profit; but the terms of this clause shall not apply where an admission fee is charged or a collection is taken up for the purpose of defraying the expense incident to such meeting, theatrical performance, exhibition or event of any kind, when either of the same is held, given or takes place in connection with the dissemination of information which is not restricted under the ordinary rules of decency, good morals, public peace, safety and good order; provided that nothing contained in this paragraph shall be deemed to authorize the holding, giving or taking place of any meeting, theatrical performance, exhibition, or event of any kind without a license, where such license is or may be required by any law of this state, or under any ordinance of this borough; or
- (4) Which, while containing reading matter other than advertising matter, is predominantly and essentially an advertisement, and is distributed or circulated for advertising purposes, or for the private benefit and gain of any person so engaged as advertisor or distributor; or
- (5) Which is not covered by the definition of "sign" in this section.
- HANDBILL DISTRIBUTOR
- Any person engaging or engaged in the business for hire or gain of distributing commercial or noncommercial handbills, other than newspapers distributed to subscribers thereof, and any person receiving compensation directly or indirectly for the distribution of such handbills.
- Any newspaper of general circulation as defined by general law, any newspaper duly entered with the Post Office Department of the United States, in accordance with federal statute or regulation, and any newspaper filed and recorded with any recording officer as provided by general law; and, in addition thereto, shall mean and include any periodical or current magazine regularly published with not less than four issues per year, and sold to the public.
- NONCOMMERCIAL HANDBILL
- Any printed or written matter, any sample or device, dodger, circular, leaflet, pamphlet, newspaper, magazine, paper booklet or any other printed or otherwise reproduced original or copies or any matter or literature not included in the aforesaid definitions of a sign, or a commercial handbill, or a newspaper.
- PRIVATE PREMISES
- Any dwelling, house, building, structure, yard, grounds, walk, driveway, porch, steps, vestibule, place, premises or part thereof not otherwise included in the definition of "public place," as "public place" is herein defined.
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Any and all streets, boulevards, avenues, lanes, alleys or other public ways, and any and all public parks, squares, spaces, plazas, grounds and buildings.
Editor's Note: See the definition of "bill poster."
Words singular in form may include the plural; any words plural in form may include the singular; and words in the masculine gender shall include the feminine and neuter genders.
No person shall post, stick, stamp, paint or otherwise fix, or cause the same to be done by any person, any notice, placard, bill, card, poster, advertisement or other paper or device, calculated to attract the attention of the public, to or upon any sidewalk, crosswalk, curb or curbstone, flagstone, or any other portion or part of any public way or public place, or any lamp post, electric light, telegraph, telephone or trolley line pole, or railway structure, hydrant, shade tree or tree-box, or upon the piers, columns, trusses, girders, railings, gates or other parts of any public structure or building or upon any pole, box or fixture of the fire alarm or police telegraph system, except such as may be authorized or required by the laws of the United States, or state, and the ordinances of the borough.
It shall be unlawful for any person to deposit, place, throw, scatter or cast any commercial or noncommercial handbill in or upon any public place within this borough; and it shall be unlawful for any person to hand out or distribute or sell any commercial handbill in any public place; provided, however, that it shall not be unlawful for any person to hand out or distribute, without charge to the receiver thereof, any noncommercial handbill in any public place to any person willing to accept such noncommercial handbill.
Prohibition. It shall be unlawful for any person or other entity to place, or cause to be placed, any advertisement, handbill, pamphlet, flyers, circular or leaflet in or upon any motor vehicle which is parked either on a public street or in a private parking lot open to the public.
Prima facie rebuttable presumptions.
A person not the owner or operator of a motor vehicle shall be presumed not to have the consent of the owner or operator of the motor vehicle;
Where the material placed in or upon a motor vehicle is commercial advertisement, the owners and management of the business being advertised by said material shall be presumed to have caused the placement in violation of this section; and
Where a person is found placing an advertisement, handbill, pamphlet, flyer, circular or leaflet on a motor vehicle, and there are identical advertisements, handbills, pamphlets, flyers, circulars or leaflets found upon other motor vehicles in the immediate vicinity, it shall be presumed that said person also placed said material on said other motor vehicles.
Penalties. Each violation of this section shall be an offense punishable by a fine of not less than $10 and not more than $250. Each separate motor vehicle upon which an advertisement, handbill, pamphlet, flyer, circular or leaflet is placed shall constitute a separate offense.
Any person observing a violation of this section may sign a complaint against the offender.
Any law enforcement agent of the Borough of Fort Lee, including but not limited to police officers, health inspectors, sanitary inspectors, housing inspectors, agents and officers of the Department of Public Works who are authorized to issue parking tickets, and environmental agents, may sign a complaint against the offender upon information and belief, and, when using the form of complaint and summons prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts, pursuant to Rule 7:3-1(b) and Rule 1:32-2, may serve the summons upon the defendant and thereafter, without unnecessary delay, file the complaint with the Fort Lee Municipal Court.
It shall be unlawful for any person to distribute, deposit, place, throw, scatter or cast any commercial or noncommercial handbill in or upon any private premises which are temporarily or continuously uninhabited or vacant.
It shall be unlawful for any person to distribute, deposit, place, throw, scatter or cast any commercial or noncommercial handbill upon any premises, if requested by the owner, his agent, servant or employees or by anyone thereon not to do so, or if there is placed on the premises in a conspicuous position near the entrance thereof a sign bearing the words "No Trespassing," "No Peddlers or Agents," "No Advertisement," or any similar notice, indicating in any manner that the occupants of the premises do not desire to be molested or to have their right or privacy disturbed, or to have any such handbills left upon such premises.
No person licensed under the provisions of this chapter, or any other person, shall distribute, deposit, place, throw, scatter or cast any commercial or noncommercial handbill in or upon any private premises which are inhabited, except by handing or transmitting any such handbill directly to the owner, occupant, or any other person then present in or upon such private premises; provided, however, that in case of inhabited private premises which are not posted as provided in this chapter, the aforesaid licensed or other person, unless requested by anyone upon such premises not to do so, may place or deposit any such handbill in or upon such inhabited private premises, if such handbill is so placed or deposited as to secure or prevent such handbill from being blown or drifted about such premises or elsewhere, except that mailboxes may not be so used when so prohibited by federal postal laws or regulations.
It shall be unlawful for any person to distribute, deposit, scatter, hand out or circulate any commercial or noncommercial handbill in any place, under any circumstances, which does not have printed on the cover, front or back thereof, the name and address of the following:
The person who wrote, compiled or caused the same to be printed or manufactured the same; or
The person who caused the same to be distributed; provided, however, that in the case of a fictitious person or club, in addition to such fictitious name, the true names and addresses of the owners, managers, or agents of the person sponsoring said handbill shall also appear thereon.
It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in a business of a billposter for hire or as a handbill distributor for hire, or for any person to distribute commercial or noncommercial handbills, without first complying with the terms of this chapter and all other relevant laws and regulations; provided that nothing contained herein shall apply to any person advertising his business or activity upon his own premises, if such business or activity is regularly established at a definite location in such borough, and also if a license has been obtained therefor, if such license be required under the terms of any applicable law or ordinance.
Any person desiring to engage, as principal, either in the business of a billposter for hire or in the business of distributing commercial or noncommercial handbills for hire shall make application to and receive from the Chief of Police of the borough, or other officer empowered to issue the same, a license. Such applicant shall make written application to the Chief of Police upon a form or forms provided for such purpose, or upon any form containing, among other things, the name, the business address and a brief description of the nature of the business to be conducted by the applicant, the probable number of agents and employees so to be engaged, together with a request for a license for the period for which the applicant seeks to engage in such business.
Any person desiring to hand out or distribute, without charge to the receiver thereof, any noncommercial handbill, where permitted under the terms hereof, shall make application for such permit, in writing, to the Chief of Police of the borough, annexing to such application a copy of the handbill sought to be so distributed and stating in such application when and where the same will be distributed, the names and addresses of the persons to be engaged in the distribution thereof, the person, firm, partnership, corporation or organization sponsoring or which will be responsible for the distribution thereof and an enumeration of the day or days during any part of which the same will be distributed at the places mentioned in the application.
Without excluding other just grounds for revocations, the Mayor and Council, or official so empowered by law, may revoke any license obtained under an application containing a false or fraudulent statement knowingly made by the applicant with intent to obtain a license by means of false or fraudulent representations, or for violation of this chapter, or any other grounds specified by law. Such application shall be accompanied by the fee hereinafter provided for in this section, where application is for commercial handbill distribution. No license issued under this chapter shall be transferable and if any such license shall be surrendered by the licensee therein named, or shall be revoked for cause, neither the licensee named in such license nor any other person shall be entitled to any refund of any part of such fee.
License fees under the terms of this section for commercial handbill distribution shall be as follows: for a period of one year, the sum of $50; for a period of three months, the sum of $25; for a period of one week or less, the sum of $10; provided that persons acting for licensees, as agents or employees, in the posting or distributing of any such signs or handbills, shall not be required to obtain a license or pay a fee, but each such person shall comply with each and all of the other provisions hereof, and be subject thereto. Licenses for noncommercial handbill distribution shall be issued without fee.
The provisions of this chapter shall not be deemed to apply to the distribution of mail by the United States, nor to newspapers as defined in this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any person to post, to hand out, distribute or transmit any sign, or any commercial or noncommercial handbill:
Which may reasonably tend to incite riot or other public disorder, or which advocates disloyalty to or overthrow of the government of the United States or of this state by means of any artifice, scheme or violence or which urges any unlawful conduct, or encourages or tends to encourage a breach of the public peace or good order of the community; or
Which is offensive to public morals or decency, or which contains blasphemous, obscene, libelous or scurrilous language.
This chapter shall not be deemed to repeal, amend or modify any ordinance ever ordained either prohibiting, regulating or licensing canvassers, hawkers, peddlers, transient merchants, or any person using the public streets or places for any private business or enterprise, or for commercial sales, not covered herein.