SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The South Plainfield Borough Council recently approved changes to its Peddling and Soliciting Code. Under the amended ordinance, which was approved, 6-0, by the council in December 2015, anyone seeking to go door-to-door in the borough must register and undergo fingerprinting and criminal history checks. Additionally, residents who do not wish to have solicitors ring their bell may opt out by signing up for the South Plainfield Police Department’s newly implemented Do Not Knock List.

The ‘Do Not Knock’ List

Residents who do not want registered persons to approach their homes and/or seek personal contact can register for the Do Not Knock List through the South Plainfield Police Department and obtain a Do Not Knock window cling to post by the front entrance of their home.

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“In an attempt to address the concerns of the residents of South Plainfield regarding the increase of door-to-door soliciting we have implemented a 'Do Not Knock’ registry,” said South Plainfield Police Chief James Parker. “We are hoping this registry will help to ensure the safety of our residents, leaving no question in the minds of solicitors that the residents displaying the sign do not wish to be disturbed.”

Under the ordinance, it will be unlawful for any peddler, solicitor, canvasser and/or transient merchant required to register with the borough to approach or seek personal contact with those registered for the borough's Do Not Knock List, with violators subject to penalties. Those who violate the borough ordinance by knocking on the doors of residence displaying the Do Not Knock decal will be required to pay a fine of not more than $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for a term of not more than 30 days.

Peddling, Soliciting and Canvassing

Under Chapter 327 of the borough’s Peddling and Soliciting Code, those seeking to conduct canvassing activities in South Plainfield must register with the borough and undergo fingerprinting and criminal history record checks. The ordinance also sets forth license fees for solicitors, peddlers, distributors and transient merchants and specifies the hours peddling, soliciting and canvassing activities may be conducted.

According to the South Plainfield Police Department, door-to-door solicitors conducting business in the borough will be required to display a current borough issued photo I.D.; the I.D. is issued after a criminal background check is conducted to provide a level of assurance the solicitor is legitimate.

Under the revised specific ordinance, solicitors are also now required to pay a registration fee of $100 per year. The definition of solicitor has also been updated and now excludes “any person who goes from dwelling-to-dwelling for the purpose of offering the service of snow removal, with or without payment.”

Additionally, distributors must pay $100 per year and transient merchant licensees will be $100 payable at the time the application is made. Peddlers will pay $500 per year with those seeking licenses for Labor Day only to be charged a one-time $50 fee. All fees are non-refundable and are to help defray the borough administrative expenses associated with enforcement.

The ordinance now also includes a new section that sets forth specific hours of operation as follows: No peddling or soliciting activities shall be conducted before 9 a.m. or later than 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday with no peddling or soliciting activities permitted on Sundays. Canvassing activities, however, may be conducted any day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“The goal of the amended ordinance is to provide the public the opportunity to stop unwanted solicitations,” said Chief Parker. “This ordinance, I believe, accomplishes that goal.”

It is important to note, however, that lawful employees of any governmental agency, recognized members of any church, social, civic, fraternal, political or philanthropic organization and local clubs are not required to obtain permits or a borough issued I.D. Additionally, the abovementioned person(s) and agencies are also exempt from the Do Not Knock List. 

For more information on the amended Peddling and Soliciting Code visit http://www.southplainfieldnj.com/spnj/Codes/; for more information or to register for the Borough of South Plainfield’s Do Not Knock list, visit www.southplainfieldnj.com.

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