6-5.01 Purpose of Provisions.

The purpose of this chapter is to protect against criminal activity including fraud and burglary, minimize the unwelcome disturbance of citizens and the disruption of privacy and to otherwise preserve the public health, safety and welfare by regulating, controlling and licensing solicitors and itinerant merchants. (6400; and by §1, Ord. 1801, eff. 8/13/92)

6-5.02 Definitions.

a. Charitable Solicitor means a person who requests funds or other contributions or sells goods or services from door to door or from a temporary location for charitable or other bona fide non-commercial purposes.

b. Commercial Solicitor means any person other than a charitable solicitor who, as owner, agent, consignee or employee, travels from place to place, from house to house or from street to street, taking or attempting to take orders for the sale of goods of any type for future delivery, or for services to be furnished or performed in the future, or whose activities may, in any way, result in such sale or the furnishing of such services, 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 sale or not, or who otherwise solicits the payment of money; or any such person who, for himself or for another person, firm or corporation, hires, leases, uses or otherwise occupies any building, tent, hotel room, lodging house room, apartment, other structure, motor vehicle, street, alley or other place within the City on a temporary basis for the primary purpose of exhibiting samples and taking orders for future delivery.

c. Director means the Administrative Services Director of the City of Walnut Creek or his or her designee.

d. Itinerant Merchant means any person who, as owner, agent, consignee or employee, engages in a business of selling goods or services of any type in the City and who, in furtherance of such businesses, hires, leases, uses or otherwise occupies any building, tent, hotel room, lodging house room, apartment, other structure, motor vehicle, street, alley or other place within the City on a temporary basis for the exhibition or sale of such goods or services, or who sells such goods or services from door to door. Itinerant merchants shall not include sidewalk vendors, as defined pursuant to Chapter 12 of Title 6. (§1, Ord. 1801, eff. 8/13/92; §5, Ord. 2198, eff. 10/18/19)

6-5.03 Registration by Solicitors and Itinerant Merchants Required.

a. It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in the business of commercial solicitor or itinerant merchant or to engage in the activities of a charitable solicitor in the City without first registering pursuant to Section 6-5.04 of this chapter. Each person engaged in such business or activity shall be required to register, regardless of whether other employees or agents of the same entity have registered.

b. It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in the business or activities of a commercial solicitor or itinerant merchant unless such person or his or her employer has first obtained a business license pursuant to Chapter 6 of Title 8 of this Code. (§1, Ord. 1801, eff. 8/13/92)

6-5.04 Registration Process.

All persons required to register by Section 6-5.03(a) of this chapter shall register with the Director or his or her designee by completing a sworn registration form in writing, in duplicate on a form to be furnished by the Director, which form shall set forth the following information:

a. The name and description of the registrant;

b. The permanent home address and full local address of the registrant;

c. The registrant's driver's license number, California identification card number, or similar identification.

d. A brief description of the nature of the business and the goods to be sold and, in the case of products of a farm or orchard, whether such products are produced or grown by the applicant;

e. If employed, the name and address of the employer, together with credentials establishing the exact relationship;

f. The length of time to which the right to do business or solicit in the City is required;

g. If a vehicle is to be used, a description of the same, together with the license number or other means of identification;

h. A statement as to whether or not the registrant has been convicted of any crime, misdemeanor or violation of any municipal ordinance, the nature of the offense and the punishment or penalty assessed therefor.

i. If the registrant is a commercial solicitor or itinerant merchant and does not have a permanent address within Contra Costa County, the form shall be accompanied by a full set of fingerprints of the registrant.

j. If the registrant is a commercial solicitor or an itinerant merchant, the form shall be accompanied by a fee in the amount established from time to time by resolution of the City Council. (6402, as amended by §4, Ord. 1085, eff. 10/7/71; and by §1, Ord. 1801, eff. 8/13/92)

6-5.05 Interstate Commerce Adjustments.

None of the permit fees provided for by this chapter shall be so applied as to occasion an undue burden upon interstate commerce. In any case where a permit fee is believed by a registrant to place an undue burden upon such commerce, he or she may apply to the Director 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 (6) months after payment of the prescribed fee. The registrant 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 Director may deem necessary in order to determine the extent, if any, of such undue burden on such commerce. The Director shall then conduct an investigation, comparing the registrant business with other businesses of like nature and shall make findings of fact from which he or she shall determine whether the fee fixed by this chapter is unfair, unreasonable or discriminatory as to the registrant's business and shall fix as the permit fee for the applicant an amount which is fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory 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 Director 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 businesses of like nature so long as the amount assessed does not exceed the fees as prescribed by the provisions of this chapter. Should the Director determine the gross measure of the fee to be the fair basis, he/she may require the registrant to submit, either at the time of termination of the registrant's business in the City or at the end of each three (3) month period, a sworn statement of the gross sales and pay the amount of fee therefrom, provided that no additional fee during any one calendar year shall be required after the registrant shall have paid an amount equal to the fee as prescribed in the provisions of this chapter. (6409; and by §1; Ord. 1801, eff. 8/13/92)

6-5.06 Conduct of Business in Streets.

No commercial solicitor, charitable solicitor or itinerant merchant shall (a) have any exclusive right to any location in the public streets, (b) operate from a stationary location, (c) operate within five hundred (500) feet of any public or private school grounds prior to 4:00 p.m. on any day when the school is in session, or (d) operate in any congested area where his or her operations might impede or inconvenience the public. For the purposes of this chapter, the judgment of a police officer, exercised in good faith, shall be deemed conclusive as to whether the area is congested or the public impeded or inconvenienced. (§1, Ord. 1801, eff. 8/13/92; and by §1, Ord. 1896, eff. 12/19/96.)

6-5.07 Hours of Business.

No commercial solicitor of itinerant merchant shall, during the conduct of such business, knock on doors or otherwise disturb persons in their residences between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. A charitable solicitor who has registered pursuant to this chapter shall be exempt from this section. (§1, Ord. 1801, eff. 8/13/92)

6-5.08 Soliciting Prohibited at Posted Premises.

No commercial solicitor, charitable solicitor or itinerant merchant shall conduct such business at any private premises which is posted with a clearly visible sign bearing the words "No Peddlers or Solicitors" or words to that effect. This section shall not be deemed to prohibit any right of a charitable solicitor to engage in such activities on private property which, due to extensive public use, has become a public forum. (§1, Ord. 1801, eff. 8/13/92)

6-5.09 Exemptions.

The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to the following:

a. Any communication between natural persons personally known to each other prior to the communication;

b. Any solicitation made upon premises owned or occupied by the person upon whose behalf such solicitation is made;

c. Any solicitation for the relief of any natural person specified by name at the time of the solicitation where the solicitor represents in each case that the entire amount collected, without any deduction whatever, shall be turned over to the named beneficiary; or

d. Any solicitation by any organization soliciting contributions solely from persons who are members of the organization at the time of such solicitation. (§1, Ord. 1801, eff. 8/13/92)

6-5.10 Penalty; Misdemeanor or Infraction.

Any person who violates any provision of this chapter shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor or an infraction.

a. If charged as an infraction, the penalty upon conviction of such person shall be a fine as set forth in Section 1-2.01 of this Code.

b. If charged as a misdemeanor, the penalty upon conviction of such person shall be imprisonment in the county jail for a period not to exceed six months, or by a fine not exceeding $1,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment. (§1, Ord. 1801, eff. 8/13/92)