City of Waltham, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The City, acting upon reports of the Waltham Police Department, has determined that there is a serious issue in the City relative to the need to protect the citizens of Waltham in their homes from "film flam" con artists and to otherwise deter crime, including burglaries and violent crimes, and to protect the City's residents from fraud. The City has further determined that private homes are personal sanctuaries that enjoy a unique status in constitutional jurisprudence such that the government has a sufficient interest in their protection to enable it to enact an ordinance which prevents the invasion of consumer privacy and combats the danger of abusive, intimidating, or threatening home solicitations. In particular, with respect to the "no solicitation" portion of this article, the City has determined that commercial solicitations are more intrusive and pose a greater danger of consumer abuse than charitable and political calls. The City also recognizes that reasonable access to residents in their homes by persons or organizations who wish to communicate either commercial or noncommercial messages is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and thus the methods of regulation set forth herein are intended to be the least restrictive means possible and are designed to be content-neutral.
This article, adopted pursuant to MGL c. 43, § 5 and Article 89 of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, establishes registration requirements and specific operational requirements for persons intending to engage in door-to-door canvassing or solicitation in the City of Waltham, and this article is adopted for the reasons stated above.
[Ord. No. 30914, 6-23-2008]
For the purposes of this article, the following definitions shall apply:
CANVASSING
Shall mean and include any one or more of the following door-to-door activities:
(a) 
Person-to-person distribution of literature, periodicals, or other printed materials for commercial purposes, but shall not include placing or dropping off printed materials on the premises or mail deliveries;
(b) 
Seeking to enlist membership in any organization for commercial purposes; and
(c) 
Seeking to present, in person, organizational information for commercial purposes.
CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION
Shall be defined as set forth in MGL c. 68, § 18.
COMMERCIAL CO-VENTURER
Shall be defined as set forth in MGL c. 68, § 18.
PROFESSIONAL SOLICITOR
Shall be defined as set forth in MGL c. 68, § 18.
REGISTERED SOLICITOR
Any person who has obtained a valid certificate of registration from the City as required by this article.
RESIDENCE
Shall mean and include every individual dwelling unit occupied for residential purposes by one or more persons.
SOLICITING
Shall mean and include any one or more of the following door-to-door activities:
(a) 
Selling, or seeking to obtain orders for the purchase of goods or services, including advertising in any type of publication, for any kind of consideration whatsoever.
(b) 
Selling or seeking to obtain prospective customers for application for purchase of insurance of any kind.
(c) 
Selling, or seeking to sell, subscriptions to books, magazines, periodicals, newspapers or any other type of publication.
(d) 
Seeking to obtain gifts or contributions of money or any valuable thing for the support or benefit of any association, organization, corporation or project wholly or in part for commercial purposes or by a professional solicitor or commercial co-venturer for a charitable or other noncommercial organization.
(e) 
Seeking to obtain information on the background, occupation, economic status, political affiliation, attitudes, viewpoints, or the like of the occupants of a residence for the purpose of selling or using such data, wholly or in part, for commercial purposes.
[Ord. No. 30914, 6-23-2008]
Every person or organization intending to engage in soliciting or canvassing door-to-door in the City of Waltham must apply for a certificate of registration by filing a registration application form with the Police Chief. Applications shall be filed at least five business days in advance. All certificates of registration, in the form of a registration card, shall be issued by the Police Chief within five business days of receipt of the applications upon determination by the Police Chief that all required information has been provided and that none of the reasons authorizing denial of a certificate of registration, as stated below, are present.
(a) 
Organization application forms shall include the following information:
(1) 
The name and address of the organization applying for registration and the names and addresses of the organization's principal officers. If the organization is a charitable organization, a certification that the most recent Annual Registration Statement required to be filed with the Attorney General's Division of Public Charities has been so filed. If the organization is a professional solicitor or a commercial co-venturer for a charitable organization, a copy of the contract with the charitable organization must be provided with this application. Failure to include a copy of the contract with the charitable organization under such circumstances will render the application incomplete and no action will be taken thereon;
(2) 
The name, title and telephone number, IRS or Social Security (optional) number, and valid driver's license or other government-issued photo identification of the person(s) filing the application form;
(3) 
The names and addresses of the person(s), if any, who will be directly supervising the solicitation or canvassing operation in the City of Waltham;
(4) 
A list of the names, addresses, dates of birth of all individuals who will be employed in solicitation or canvassing by the applicant;
(5) 
Period of time for which the certificate of registration is sought, which period shall not be longer than 90 days;
(6) 
Names of the last three communities, if any, in which the organization has conducted a solicitation or canvassing operation, complete with the dates such solicitation or canvassing operation commenced and concluded; and
(7) 
Insurance information and license, if applicable.
(b) 
Individual registration forms shall be required for all individuals, including those who are affiliated with an organization registered under Section 8-42(a) hereof. Individual registration forms shall contain the following information:
(1) 
Name and address of the present place of residence and length of residence at that address; if less than three years' residence at present address, the address of residence(s) during the past three years;
(2) 
Date of birth;
(3) 
Name, address and telephone number of the person or organization whom the applicant represents, if any, and the length of time the applicant has been associated with or employed by that person or organization. If the individual is a professional solicitor or a commercial co-venturer for a charitable organization, a copy of the contract, if any, with the charitable organization must be provided with this application. Failure to include a copy of the contract with the charitable organization under such circumstances will render the application incomplete and no action will be taken thereon;
(4) 
Period of time for which the certificate of registration is sought, which period shall be no longer than 90 days;
(5) 
Name of the last three communities, if any, in which the applicant has solicited or canvassed door-to-door, complete with the dates such solicitation or canvassing operation commenced and concluded;
(6) 
Valid driver's license or other government-issued photo identification; and
(7) 
Make, model and registration number and state of any vehicle to be used by the applicant while soliciting or canvassing.
(8) 
Each individual applicant for a certificate of registration shall sign a form authorizing the Chief of Police to conduct a CORI (Criminal Offender Registry Information) check of the individual.
[Ord. No. 30914, 6-23-2008]
There shall be no application fee or charge for an individual registration card. Each organization applying for a certificate of registration or reregistration shall pay to the City an application fee of $25, which shall be used solely to cover the cost of examining and investigating the information contained in the application form.
[Ord. No. 30914, 6-23-2008]
(a) 
The Police Chief, after a review, but in no event more than five business days after receipt of a fully completed application, shall furnish each person with a registration card which shall contain the following information:
(1) 
The name of the person;
(2) 
A recent photograph of the person;
(3) 
The name of the organization, if any, which the person represents;
(4) 
A statement that the person has registered with the City of Waltham Police Department but that said registration does not constitute endorsement of or support for any individual or organization; and
(5) 
The specific dates or period of time covered by the registration.
(b) 
Persons engaged in soliciting or canvassing, as defined by this article, must carry the registration card while soliciting or canvassing and must present said card to any person solicited or canvassed or, upon request, to any police officer.
(c) 
Registration cards are valid only for the specific dates or time period specified thereon and in no case for longer than 90 days. Each such registration card shall state thereon the date upon which the registration expires. Upon the date so stated, the registration shall automatically expire. This provision, however, shall not bar an individual and/or organization from seeking and obtaining registration cards for successive ninety-day periods upon reapplication using the same process as that used for the initial application process.
(d) 
The Police Chief shall routinely grant registrations without further inquiry but shall refuse registration to an organization or individual whose registration has been revoked within the previous two-year period for violation of any provision of this article or to any individual who has been convicted of murder/manslaughter, rape, robbery, arson, burglary/breaking and entering, or felony assault, as such persons have been determined by the City to pose a substantial degree of dangerousness to minors, senior citizens, and other persons vulnerable to becoming victims of the violent crimes so listed. The Police Chief shall also refuse to issue a registration card to any person who is a sex offender required to register with the Sex Offenders Registry Board and who is finally classified as a Level 2 or Level 3 sex offender, as such persons have been found to have a moderate to high risk of reoffense and pose a substantial degree of dangerousness to minors, senior citizens, and other persons vulnerable to becoming victims of sex crimes.
[Ord. No. 30914, 6-23-2008]
(a) 
Registration shall not be required for officers or employees of the City, state, or federal government when on official government business.
(b) 
Individual registration shall not be required for minors under the age of 17.
(c) 
Nothing in this article shall be construed to impose any registration requirement or otherwise restrict or in any way regulate any activity for religious, political, newspaper distribution or public policy purposes or other noncommercial purposes, regardless of whether such activity includes acts that would otherwise constitute soliciting or canvassing.
[Ord. No. 30914, 6-23-2008]
(a) 
Upon approaching any residential premises in the City of Waltham, every solicitor, canvasser or other person must first examine any notices or signs posted on the property prohibiting solicitation or other activities. If such a notice or sign is posted, the solicitor, canvasser or other person must refrain from entering the property, and if the notice or sign was not visible until the property was entered, the solicitor, canvasser or other person must then immediately leave the premises.
(b) 
No solicitor, canvasser or other person shall enter any premises which are identified on the "no solicitation" list, described below, on file at the Waltham Police Department.
(c) 
Any solicitor, canvasser or other person who has gained entrance to any residence, whether invited or not, shall immediately and peacefully leave the premises when requested to do so by the occupant.
(d) 
Immediately upon gaining entrance to any residence, each solicitor or canvasser, as defined by this article, must do the following:
(1) 
Present his/her registration card for inspection by the occupant;
(2) 
Request that the occupant read the registration card; and
(3) 
Inform the occupant in clear language of the nature and purpose of his/her business and, if he/she is representing an organization, the name and nature of that organization.
[Ord. No. 30914, 6-23-2008]
It shall be unlawful for a solicitor, canvasser or other person to do any of the following:
(a) 
Falsely represent, directly or by implication, that the solicitation, canvassing or other activity is being done on behalf of a governmental organization or on behalf of any municipal employee or elected official.
(b) 
Use any plan, scheme or ruse which misrepresents the true status or mission of the person making the call in order to gain admission to a prospective buyer's home.
(c) 
Solicit, canvass or conduct any other activity at any residence where there is a posted notice or sign prohibiting the same, without express prior permission of an occupant.
(d) 
Solicit, canvass or conduct any other activity at any residence which is on the "no solicitation" list described below, without the express prior permission of an occupant.
(e) 
Solicit, canvass or conduct any other activity at any residence, without express prior permission of an occupant, before 9:00 a.m. or after 8:00 p.m. where there is no sign or notice posted on the property which otherwise limits solicitation or the hours of solicitation or such other activities.
(f) 
Utilize any form of endorsement from any department head currently employed by the City of Waltham.
(g) 
Solicit, canvass or conduct any other activity at any residence in an illegal fashion.
[Ord. No. 30914, 6-23-2008]
(a) 
Any person, firm or corporation who is the owner or lawful tenant or occupant of any private residence within the City of Waltham may prohibit the practice of going in or upon the private residence of such owner or occupant, by uninvited solicitors or canvassers, as defined in this article, by placing a sign upon its property which reads "No Solicitation" in a location which is reasonably visible to persons who intend to enter upon such residential property.
(b) 
Any person, firm or corporation who is the owner or lawful tenant or occupant of any private residence within the City of Waltham may prohibit the practice of going in or upon the private residential property and/or the private residence of such owner or occupant, by solicitors or canvassers, as defined in this article, by registering its property in accordance with Subsection (c) of this section and by posting upon each such registered residential property a sign which reads "No Solicitation" in a location which is reasonably visible to persons who intend to enter upon such residential property.
(c) 
The registration authorized by Subsection (b) hereof shall be made by filing a "No Solicitation Registration Form" at the office of the Chief of Police, on a form furnished by the Chief for such purpose. The form shall be completed by the property owner or occupant, and it shall contain the following information:
(1) 
Name of the person filing the form and capacity to sign, e.g., owner, tenant, occupant.
(2) 
Residential address(es) for which the "no solicitation" restriction shall apply.
(d) 
A resident of the City of Waltham may mail said form to the Police Chief, fill it out at the Police Department or request inclusion on the "no solicitation" list by telephone call to the Police Department. In the case of telephone request, the Police Chief shall verify that the person calling resides at the address identified by making a return telephone call to the telephone number provided for said residence.
(e) 
All residences requesting inclusion on the "no solicitation" list shall be placed on said list by the Police Chief.
(f) 
The Police Chief shall supply every applicant for a certificate of registration with a copy of said list.
[Ord. No. 30914, 6-23-2008]
The provisions of this article shall be enforced by the Waltham Police Department. In addition to the other means of enforcement otherwise available for violations of this article, including but not limited to, where applicable, the provisions of Section 1-13(a) of the General Ordinances, violations may be penalized, as provided by MGL c. 40, § 21D, pursuant to the noncriminal disposition provisions of Section 1-13(b) of the General Ordinances.[1] For purposes of Section 1-13(b), police officers shall be the enforcing officers for provisions of this article. Such police officers shall receive training annually within the Police Department or at such other location as the Police Chief shall determine with respect to First Amendment free speech rights to enable such police officers to apply this article in a constitutionally appropriate manner.
[1]
Editor's Note: See Section 1-13, Enforcement of municipal ordinances, bylaws and regulations, in this Code.
[Ord. No. 30914, 6-23-2008]
(a) 
Any person or organization who shall violate any of the provisions of this article or shall violate any applicable provisions of state or federal laws governing soliciting or canvassing, including, but not limited to, MGL c. 68, shall be subject to a fine of $300 for each offense.
(b) 
Any person or organization who for himself, itself or through its agents servants or employees is found, after investigation by a police officer, to have 1) violated any provision of Section 8-46 or 8-47, or any applicable state or federal laws governing soliciting or canvassing, including but not limited to MGL c. 68; or 2) knowingly provided false information on the registration application required by Section 8-42 of the ordinance, shall have his/her/its registration revoked by the Police Chief by written notice delivered to the holder of the registration card in person or sent to the holder by certified mail at the address set forth in the application.
[Ord. No. 30914, 6-23-2008]
Any person or organization who is denied registration or whose registration has been revoked by the Police Chief may appeal by filing a written notice of appeal with the Waltham City Council. Such appeal must be filed in the City Clerk's office within five days after receipt of the notice of denial or revocation. The date of receipt of the notice shall not be counted in the five days, but the date on which the appeal is actually filed shall be so included. The City Council shall hear the appeal at its next regularly scheduled meeting after the filing of said written notice of appeal; provided, however, that if the City Council fails to make a determination within 30 days after the filing of the appeal, the registration shall be deemed granted or reinstated as the case may be.
[Ord. No. 30914, 6-23-2008]
This article shall be construed and applied so as to be consistent with the Constitution of the United States relative to First Amendment free speech issues and relevant case law as developed by the United States Supreme Court and other courts with applicable jurisdiction. If any portion of this article should be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the validity of this article as a whole or any other portion hereof.