Throughout the country, the pandemic upended many aspects of government. At the local level, transient vendor activities within Summit County is one of the areas of oversight that was impacted.
Part of the responsibility of the Office of Consumer Affairs, a division of the Summit County Executive’s Office, was to issue permits to private vendors seeking to conduct door-to-door sales for goods and services. An application and filing fee were necessary to ensure vendors worked within defined guidelines. A void was created when the Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs Office closed in 2020, leaving regulatory authority of transient vendors to local communities.
As part of a recent legislative change allowing Ohio townships to regulate transient vendor activities, Bath Township passed a resolution consistent with Ohio law. Ohio revised code states that a board of township trustees may, by resolution, require the registration of all transient vendors within the unincorporated territory of the township and may regulate the time, place, and manner in which these vendors may sell, offer for sale or solicit orders for future delivery of goods.
The statute further provides that if the board requires the registration of all transient vendors, it may establish a registration fee, not to exceed $150 for a registration period, and the registration shall be valid for a period of at least 90 days after the date of registration. The Bath Township trustees recently adopted a registration requirement of transient vendors who solicit door to door and determined it to be in the best interest of protecting the health, safety and welfare of Bath Township residents and business owners.
According to the statute, “transient vendor” means any person who opens a temporary place of business for the sale of goods or who, on the streets or while traveling about the township, sells or offers for sale goods, or solicits orders for future delivery of goods where payment is required upfront, or attempts to arrange an appointment for a future estimate or sales call. Transient vendor does not include any person who represents any entity exempted from taxation.
Resolution to regulate transient vendors
Bath Township’s resolution to regulate these vendors reads in part as follows:
Every transient vendor, before conducting business in Bath Township, shall register with the Bath Township Zoning Office, located at 3864 W. Bath Rd., Akron and pay a registration fee of $150 for each business entity. No person, business, organization or entity is permitted to conduct business until registering with Bath Township and being issued a transient vendor certificate of registration.
The zoning office shall keep a registry of transient vendors, which shall include the name, residence and business address of each vendor and sales representative; the name and address of each company or firm represented by the vendor; a brief description of the products to be sold or offered for sale, and the name(s) and address(s) from which a purchaser may obtain adjustments.
Registration shall be valid for 90 days from the date of registration. Every transient vendor shall carry on his/her person the transient vendor certificate of registration issued by the zoning office while carrying on activities in the township.
Activities shall be conducted only from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. weekdays, and shall not include weekends or holidays. There shall be a limit of four sales representatives at any given time in the township representing the person, business, organization or entity.
Transient vendors are expressly prohibited from conducting activities in a stationary location on public or private property, except for those individuals, firms, organizations or entities specifically authorized by the trustees.
Transient vendor permits or similar instruments issued by another governmental entity will not be recognized in Bath Township.
Transient vendors shall abide by all terms and conditions set forth by Bath.
Immediate revocation of the vendor certificate of registration will occur if any person, business, organization, or entity violates any of the terms set forth in this resolution. In such event, any person connected with the vendor registration shall be prohibited from conducting further vendor activities in Bath Township and may be subject to prosecution.
In carrying on activities within Bath Township, a transient vendor shall not:
- Obstruct or interfere with public travel on or public use of any public street, road, sidewalk or way.
- Enter any private premises or parts of premises where entry is prohibited by notice or which are manifestly restricted to uses, which are incompatible with the vendor’s activity.
- Remain on premises or parts of premises after notice to depart.
- Possess, sell, offer to sell, or solicit orders for any product or thing in violation of law.
The resolution does not apply to the following types of activities:
- Door-to-door solicitation and sales by nonprofit or charitable groups or their members.
- Solicitation and sales from a stationary location by nonprofit or charitable groups or their members and approved by the board of trustees.
- Vendor activities specifically authorized by the trustees in connection with an approved township-related event.
As part of Bath Township’s ongoing work to promote policies and regulations for the health and safety of its residents and business owners, the transient vendor registration and guidelines are reflective of the township’s commitment of service to the community. ∞