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Sample Legislation: Handbills and Other Materials

Handbills and Other Materials

Most municipalities have local legislation on littering, which often contains sections devoted to handbill distribution. However, many municipalities have taken it further, passing specific legislation geared at unwanted distribution of commercial and noncommercial handbills, advertising materials and newspapers on private and public property. Accumulation of printed material on private property can signal that a house is unoccupied, inviting criminal behavior and/or contributing to littering. Sample legislation we offer includes definitions and penalties, and is intended to reduce litter, preserve aesthetics and property values, reduce expenditure of public money to clean up, and regulate the manner of distribution and delivery of materials. The Clerk maintains a list of residents requesting that no unsolicited printed materials be delivered. Persons and organizations wishing to distribute materials must register with the Clerk, and are given the list. Delivering materials to those residents becomes a violation.

Sample Ordinances:

Old Westbury, V. NY: Ch. 153
Derby, C. CT: Ch. 97
Patterson, Twp. PA: Ch. 120
Black Earth, V. WI: § 202-20

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Old Westbury, V. NY:

 

Chapter 153
PRINTED MATERIALS, UNSOLICITED

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Old Westbury 2-18-1992 by L.L. No. 2-1992. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 153-1. Purpose; intent.

  1. The purpose of this chapter is to protect the rights of Village residents who desire not to receive unwanted print or other written materials, whether commercial or noncommercial in nature, including unsolicited newspapers. The right of privacy affords citizens an unquestionable and enforceable right to determine and limit the materials they will allow to be delivered on their private property. A person may not be compelled to listen to or view any unwanted communication, spoken or written, whatever its merit, in the privacy of his home. When a resident affirmatively provides notice that he desires not to receive delivery of unsolicited print or other written materials, to deliver is, in effect, a trespass against the resident.
  2. This chapter is intended to ensure and protect the privacy rights of Village residents on their private property and to deter the accumulation of unsolicited literature that might signal that a house is unoccupied. It is further intended to prevent littering and protect the aesthetic appearance of the Village by reasonable regulation of the time, place and manner of the distribution and delivery of unsolicited print or written materials in the Village.

§ 153-2. Repealer.

Chapter 149 of the Old Westbury Village Code is hereby repealed in its entirety.

§ 153-3. List of residents not to receive unsolicited materials.

  1. The Village Clerk shall maintain a list of all Village residents, by address, who have filed a written notice with the Village Clerk requesting that all, or certain, unsolicited print or other written materials not be delivered onto their premises.
  2. Written notice shall be effective for a period not to exceed two years. The list shall be revised from time to time as the Clerk is notified by an owner or person in charge of the premises that he wishes to have his property either removed from or placed on the list. Whenever the Village Clerk becomes aware that the ownership or occupancy of any listed premises has changed, the list shall be revised by deleting said address from the list. Nothing in this chapter, however, shall require the Village Clerk to verify the identity of any owner or person in charge of any premises or to verify any change of ownership, occupancy or control. The Village shall not be liable for any errors or omissions on the list.

§ 153-4. Registration of distributors; information required.

  1. No person, organization, society, association, company or corporation, or their agents or their representatives, may distribute or deliver any unsolicited print or other written material upon the property of any Village resident without first having registered with the Village Clerk prior to such distribution or delivery. The registration shall be signed and duly acknowledged by a person who is an owner or authorized agent and accepts responsibility for the receipt of the list of residents described in § 153-3 hereof and for the compliance by delivery persons and carriers with the provisions of this chapter.
  2. The registrant shall also provide to the Village Clerk the name of the print or other written material to be distributed, the name, addresses and telephone number of the distributor, a list containing the names and addresses of all carriers and delivery persons who will be distributing or delivering its print or other written material in the Village and a list of the license plate numbers of any motor vehicles used by the carriers and delivery persons in making their deliveries. The authorized agent shall be responsible for updating and keeping these lists current with the Village.

§ 153-5. Prohibition on delivery to listed residents.

No person, organization, society, association, company or corporation, or their agents or representatives, including but not limited to the authorized agent described in § 153-4 hereof and the actual deliverer or carrier, shall deliver, distribute, throw, cast or place or cause or permit to be delivered, distributed, thrown, cast or placed any unsolicited print or other written material of any nature whatsoever upon the premises of any Village resident who has requested that such print or other written material not be delivered to his premises and whose address has been listed with the Village pursuant to § 153-3 hereof and provided to the registrant in accordance with § 153-4 hereof.

§ 153-6. Delivery in public places.

No person shall throw, cast or place in or upon any Village right-of-way, street, avenue or highway any unsolicited print or other written material, including but not limited to newspapers, handbills, circulars, advertising and cards.

§ 153-7. Removal.

Any person, organization, society, association, company or corporation, or their agents or representatives, who or which delivers or distributes any unsolicited print or other written materials shall be responsible to clean up and remove all of its print or other written materials from the Village rights-of-way and any other location set forth in § 153-6.

§ 153-8. Delivery to residences.

It shall be unlawful for any person to throw, cast or place upon the doorknob or the door of any residence in the Village any unsolicited print or other written materials whatsoever, including but not limited to handbills, circulars, advertising, newspapers and cards.

§ 153-9. Penalties for offenses.

Any organization, society, association, company, corporation or individual who or which commits, takes part or assists in any violation of this chapter shall, for each and every violation, for each and every day that such violation continues, be subjected to a fine of not more than $250.
 
 

Derby, C. CT:

 

Chapter 97
 HANDBILLS

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Alderman of the City of Derby 12-21-1995. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 97-1. Definitions.

The following terms, phrases, words and their derivatives shall have the meanings given herein unless their use in the text clearly demonstrates a different meaning:

HANDBILL — Any printed or written matter, leaflet, pamphlet, paper, booklet or any other printed matter or literature which is not delivered by United States Mail, including but not limited to material:

A. Which advertises for sale any merchandise, product, commodity or thing;

B. 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

C. 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.

PRIVATE PREMISES — All property including but not limited to vacant land or any land, building or other structure designed or used for residential, commercial, business, industrial, institutional or religious purposes, together with any yard, grounds, walk, driveway, fence, porch, steps, vestibule, mailbox and other structure appurtenant thereto.

PUBLIC PLACE — Means and includes any and all streets, boulevards, avenues, lanes, alleys or other public ways and parks, squares, plazas, grounds and buildings frequented by the general public, whether publicly or privately owned.

VEHICLE — Every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon land or water, including devices used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

§ 97-2. Private premises.

A. No person shall deposit or unlawfully distribute any handbill in or upon premises, except by handing or transmitting any such handbill directly to the occupant of such private premises; provided, however, that in case of private premises which are not posted against the receiving of handbills or similar material, such person, unless requested by anyone upon such premises not to do so, may securely place any such handbill in such a manner as to prevent such handbill from being deposited by the elements upon any public place or private premises, except mailboxes may not be so used when prohibited by federal postal law or regulation.

B. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the distribution upon private premises only of newspapers or political literature, except that newspapers and political literature shall be placed in such a manner as to prevent their being carried or deposited by the elements upon any public place or private premises.

§ 97-3. Public places.

No person shall throw, scatter or cast any kind of handbill in or upon any public place within the city; and no person shall 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 handbills or any other thing which is otherwise permitted and authorized by law in any public place to any person willing to accept such handbill or other thing, without payment therefor.

§ 97-4. Placing handbills in vehicles.

No person shall deposit, fasten, throw, scatter or cast any handbill in or upon any vehicle. The provisions of this section shall not be deemed to prohibit the handing of any noncommercial handbill to the owner or other occupant of any vehicle who is willing to accept it without payment therefor.

§ 97-5. Cleanup.

It shall be the responsibility of any person distributing handbills to maintain the area which they are utilizing free of any litter caused by or related to said handbill distribution.

§ 97-6. Penalties for offenses.

Any person, firm or corporation violating any provision of this section shall be fined $50 for each offense; and a separate offense shall be deemed committed on each day during or on which a violation occurs or continues.

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Patterson, Twp. PA:

 

Chapter 120
 LITTERING

[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Patterson at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 120-1. Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

COMMERCIAL HANDBILL — Any printed or written matter, leaflet, pamphlet or any other printed or otherwise reproduced literature which advertises for sale any merchandise, product, commodity or thing or which directs attention to any business or mercantile establishment or which directs attention to or advertises any meeting, theatrical performance or an event of any kind for which an admission fee is charged.

LITTER — Any putrescible animal and vegetable waste, commonly known as "garbage," and any putrescible and nonputrescible solid waste, including rubbish and refuse, such as ashes, street cleanings, dead animals, abandoned automobiles and solid market and industrial waste, paper, wrappings, cigarettes, cardboard, tin cans, yard clippings, leaves, wood, glass, bedding, crockery, trash and similar materials.

NONCOMMERCIAL HANDBILL — Any printed or written matter, circular, leaflet, pamphlet or any other printed or otherwise reproduced original or copies of any matter of literature not included in the above definition of a "commercial handbill."

§ 120-2. Prohibited acts.

No person, association, firm or corporation shall do or permit to be done any of the following acts:

A. Sweep or deposit in any gutter, street or other public place within the township any accumulation of litter from any building or lot or from any public or private sidewalk or driveway. Persons owning or occupying property, including residences and places of business, shall keep the sidewalk in front of their premises free of litter.

B. Throw or deposit, while a driver or passenger in a vehicle, litter upon any street or other public place within the township or upon private property.

C. Drive or move any truck or other vehicle within the township unless such vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to prevent any load, contents or litter from being blown or deposited upon any street, alley or other public place.

D. Deposit dirt on any public street from the wheels of vehicles leaving construction sites, unless such dirt is removed by 5:00 p.m. of the day on which the dirt was deposited.

E. Throw or deposit commercial or noncommercial handbills in or upon any sidewalk, street or other public place, or hand out, distribute or sell any commercial handbills or place the same in or upon any vehicle in any public place, provided that it shall not be unlawful on any sidewalk, street or other public place to distribute, without charge, any noncommercial handbill to any person willing to accept it.

F. Throw, deposit or distribute any commercial or noncommercial handbill in or upon private premises which are inhabited, except by handing or transmitting any such handbill directly to the owner, occupant or other person then present in or upon such private premises.

G. Post or affix any notice, poster or other paper or device calculated to attract the attention of the public to any lamppost, public utility pole or tree or upon any public structure or building, except as may be authorized or required by law.

H. Throw, deposit or permit the accumulation of litter on private premises, both business and residential, within the township, whether owned by such person or not. The owner or person in control of the private premises may maintain authorized private receptacles for collection in such a manner that litter would be prevented from being carried or deposited by the elements on any street, sidewalk or other public place or upon any private property. The owners of shopping centers are hereby required to install and maintain trash receptacles on the pedestrian walkways within said shopping center. These receptacles shall be placed at a maximum of thirty (30) feet apart, unless the Board of Commissioners or its designee determines this distance is not practicable. The receptacles shall be clearly designated as trash receptacles, and the Board of Commissioners or its designee shall have the authority to determine the adequacy of such receptacles in terms of their type and number.

I. Throw or deposit litter upon any open or vacant private premises or any inhabited premises, whether owned by such person or not.

§ 120-3. Clearing of litter; notice; failure to comply.

A. The Board of Commissioners or its designee is hereby authorized and empowered to notify the owner and/or occupant of any open or vacant private premises or any occupied or unoccupied private or business premises within the township, or the agent of such owner or occupant, to properly dispose of litter located on such property. Such notice shall be by certified mail, addressed to said owner and/or occupant at his last known address, or served personally by the Board of Commissioners or its designee upon such owner or occupant.

B. Upon failure, neglect or refusal of any owner or occupant so notified to properly dispose of litter within three (3) days after receipt of the written notice provided for in Subsection A above, or three (3) days after the date of such notice in the event that the same is returned unserved, said Board of Commissioners or designee is hereby authorized and empowered to order the correction of such violation, using township funds or township personnel to accomplish such correction, and may charge the costs thereof to the violator. Collection of such costs by the township may be made by lien or otherwise as authorized by law.

§ 120-4. Violations and penalties.

Any person, firm, association or corporation who violates any provision of this chapter or fails to correct within the time hereinabove set forth the conditions for which complaint is made by the township shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.) plus costs of prosecution and, in default of payment of such fine and costs, to imprisonment in the county jail for a term not exceeding thirty (30) days, and each day's failure to comply with any such provision shall constitute a separate violation. It shall not be necessary for the township to give notice pursuant to the provisions of § 120-3 above in order to obtain a conviction for any of the prohibited acts in § 120-2 above.

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Black Earth, V. WI:

§ 202-20. Littering.

A. Littering prohibited. No person shall throw any glass, refuse or waste, filth or other litter upon the streets, alleys, highways, public parks or other property of the Village, or upon property within the Village owned by the Wisconsin Heights School District or any private person, or upon the surface of any body of water within the Village.

B. Litter from conduct of commercial enterprise.

(1) Scope. The provisions of this subsection shall apply to all sales, promotions and other commercial ventures that result in litter being deposited on any street, alley or other public way.

(2) Litter to be cleaned up. Any person, firm, corporation or association carrying on an enterprise that results in litter being deposited on any street, alley or other public way shall clean up the same within 12 hours of the time the same is deposited. If any such litter is subject to being blown about it shall be picked up immediately. If any such litter is likely to attract animals or vermin, such litter shall be picked up immediately.

(3) Litter picked up at litterer's expense. If any person, firm, corporation or association fails to pick up any litter as required by Subsection B(2) within the time specified, the Village shall arrange to have the same picked up by Village crews or by private enterprise. Applicable bidding procedures shall be used for any arrangement for the use of private enterprise to pick up such litter. The entire expense of picking up such litter, together with an additional charge of 20% for administrative expenses, shall be charged to the person, firm, corporation or association that did the littering. If such sum is not promptly paid, steps shall be taken, with the advice of the Village Attorney's office, to collect the same. This charge shall be in addition to any forfeiture or other penalty for violation of this subsection.

C. Dumping of refuse and grass in gutters. No person shall deposit any refuse, leaves or grass clippings in any gutter along any public street, road, alley or highway.

D. Handbills.

(1) Scattering prohibited. It shall be unlawful to deliver any handbills or advertising matter to any premises in the Village except by being handed to the recipient, placed on the porch, stoop or entranceway of the building or firmly affixed to a building so as to prevent any such articles from being blown about in any way causing litter.

(2) Papers in public place prohibited. It shall be unlawful to leave any handbills or newspapers unattended in any street, alley, public building or other public place, provided that this shall not prohibit the sale of newspapers in vending machines.

 

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