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Clifton Park to amend longtime local peddler law

Clifton Park to amend longtime local peddler law

Proposed legislation would increase annual licensing fees, expand background check process
Clifton Park to amend longtime local peddler law
Photographer: Gazette File Photo

The Town of Clifton Park is planning to make overarching amendments to its longtime local law that deals with the licensing and operation of peddlers and solicitors in town.

The town board held a required public hearing to address the proposed amendments during its Monday night meeting.  

The proposed legislation would increase annual licensing fees for companies and entities wishing to engage in door-to-door sales in town. It would also expand the background check process required for vendors, and would provide an administrative appeal process for license revocations.

While no members of the public spoke about the changes at the meeting, Town Attorney Tom McCarthy explained the various changes that would be made under the amendments, the first made to the law since it was adopted in 1970. Those changes include rewriting and restructuring of the law's outdated language. 

"We took out the antiquated language. We just modernized that," McCarthy said on Tuesday.

Some rewording examples in the proposed amendments include the addition of bicycles as a method of transportation solicitors can use, while eliminating the method of sale by boat.

"Nobody sells off the canal anymore," he said.

The amended law will also allow merchants who have a place of business in Clifton Park to obtain licenses, and clarifies that some service based groups, including local Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts troops, do not need to go through the licensing process.

Other amendments involve increasing the licensing fee from $100 to $250, and providing a clear list of materials that vendors need to present to the town in order to obtain a license.

One other major change deals with the revocation of peddling and soliciting licenses. 

Currently, the town clerk has the authority to revoke vendor licenses. Should the amendments pass, that power will instead fall to the town board and in order to have a vendor's licensed revoked, a public hearing must be held before a decision is made.

Though the language in the law was outdated and required adjusting, McCarthy said, the initial idea to reexamine the law came from some complaints that the town received about a vendor just this summer.

"Basically, they weren't taking no for an answer," McCarthy said.

While the vendor's license was revoked, McCarthy explained that the town discovered that according to state law, only town boards can revoke licenses. The town board then met with the vendor, and, upon discussing the concerns, reinstated the license and began the work of rewriting the local law so it matched up to the state law. A portion of the amended law dictates that vendors must "refrain at all times from aggressive or deceptive sales technique."

Vendors can also peddle and solicit no later than 30 minutes before dusk, according to the law.

"Obviously, we don't want people knocking on doors after dark," Clifton Park Town Supervisor Phil Barrett said during the public hearing.

The town board will pass a resolution implementing the law's amendments at a future town board meeting.

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