Trustees pass new village peddling and soliciting law

— Peddlers and solicitors who come into the village of Skaneateles now have a new set of rules to abide by as they conduct their business.

Village trustees, at their Aug. 23 meeting, unanimously passed a new local law to change the regulations regarding peddling and soliciting from a system of licensure to one of registration.

Currently, under chapter 149 of village code, any person wishing to solicit or peddle within the village applies at the village office, completes an application, pays a small fee and gives copies of personal identification, typically a driver’s license and social security number. That information is then submitted to the police department for a background check.

Under the new Local Law No. 2 of 2012, venders no longer need to apply for a license but would simply register with the village police department. They would pay no fee, not be subject to a background check nor receive a license.

The new law, which amends chapter 149 of the village code, is intended to better protect residents from unwanted solicitors and also to protect the village from certain liability issues that could arise under the current code.

The change was urged by Village Police Chief Lloyd Perkins during the July 12 village board meeting, when he told the board he was concerned that issuing a “permit” or “License” implies that the village has thoroughly investigated potential solicitors and peddlers and therefore is assuring resident safety when a permit is issued. Perkins said that was not the case because the background check conducted by the village police is not as thorough as it sounds.

The village police are limited to running names through the local sex offender registry and the regional Criminal History Arrest Incident Reporting System. Neither of these databases is always up-to-date, and neither reveals any person’s criminal history that outside the Central New York region, Perkins said. A criminal investigation must be underway before a thorough criminal history check can be initiated, he explained.

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