Paris Toughens Regulations On Temporary Vendors
BY SHANNON MCFARLIN
WENK/WTPR News Director
PARIS — After hearing the pros and cons from members of the public, the Paris City Commission Thursday night toughened the regulations governing temporary vendors.
During the public hearing prior to approval of the ordinance, Henry County Alliance CEO David Hamilton spoke out against roadside vendors who he said are taking business away from local businesses.
Attorney Chad Cox, representing Paris Fresh Market Produce, which does business in the parking lot of NAPA on Mineral Wells Ave., asked for an extension until September 1 before the new requirements take effect. The proposed ordinance had required changes by June 1 and City Manager Kim Foster said the proprietors of Fresh Market Produce had been notified of that deadline.
The ordinance allows on any commercial lot more than one principal business and requires that the principal businesses must all be housed in permanent buildings. The ordinance would allow limit a ‘peddler’s permit’ to a maximum two week period twice during any calendar year. The ordinance further defines the definitions of seasonal vendors.
Foster noted, “The reason we are at this point where we are tonight is that every year as their inventory grew and the length of their season grew, they’ve grown out of being considered a temporary business. When they started organizing their business at the end of March this year, we realized they didn’t qualify as a peddler in our ordinance. They’re now in the category of a business, so we needed to change the ordinance to cover this scenario.”
Foster said she had discussed the matter with the proprietors, who did acquire a business license. She said she notified them that the city was considering a change in the ordinance which would require a June 1 deadline for them to locate in a permanent structure. She said she also reminded them Tuesday of the June 1 deadline.
Cox said Paris Fresh Produce was respectfully requesting an extension to September 1 to allow them time to finish their current selling season. He said, “They have abided with the permits” and noted they are seeking a covered building for the future.
In his remarks, Hamilton said he supports the ordinance toughening the rules for temporary businesses and peddlers. “I don’t feel the roadside vendors should be completely” done away with, but that they should be limited. “They are hurting our local businesses,” he said. “Local businesses don’t mind competition, but it should be fair competition.”
He noted that the temporary businesses and peddlers do not have the overhead expenses that permanent businesses have.