Town Tackles Street Vendors

BLYTHEWOOD (Jan. 26, 2017) – With more mobile street vendors rolling into town these days, Town Council is considering an ordinance that will require those vendors to roll out of town during nighttime hours when they are not open for business.

Town attorney Jim Meggs said Council members had brought the issue to his attention recently, asking him to create an ordinance that would limit or eliminate overnight, long-term parking for trailer-type street vendors in the Town Center District (TCD).

“That use is not deemed to be consistent with the objectives of the (TC) District,” Meggs said.

“We now have a coffee vendor,” Mayor J. Michael Ross added, referencing the increasing number of vendors in the town. “When we initially talked with them (coffee vendor), they were going to take the trailer away each night. But now it sits there. It’s another example of how a vending stand comes in and is just left there. It’s frustrating.”

Meggs presented Council with a draft ordinance that would amend the TCD regulations in the zoning ordinance to require the removal of ‘vending stands’ from the TCD every evening when the vending stand is closed for business.

The draft suggested that vending stands open for relatively short durations (less than 30 days in a calendar year) would not be affected.

The draft defined a ‘vending stand’ as any hut, trailer, stand, cart, tent or vehicle not permanently affixed to real property, including any signs or other accessories related to such and which operates under one itinerant merchant for more than 30 days in any calendar year within the town.

“I’d like to see this on our next agenda,” Councilman Tom Utroska told Council

“Street vendors can bring business to town, but they need to be controlled,” Town Planning Consultant Michael Criss told Council.

According to Town Clerk Melissa Cowan, who issues business licenses for the Town, vendors pay a $40 fee for an initial business license and the following year must pay an annual fee based on their gross income of the previous year.

“Vendors who serve cooked food also have to pay a 2 percent hospitality tax, which they collect from customers,” Cowan said.

First reading for the vendor ordinance will be held at the Jan. 30 Council meeting at 7 p.m., at Doko Manor.