Council considers amending street vendor ordinance

The vendors would be required to notify the city if they moved.



NEWTON FALLS — City council discussed amending their current street vendor ordinance, which could put the brakes on concession trailers operating in the city.

The biggest change discussed on Monday would be permit fees for concession trailers. The current fee is $25 for one month and $10 to renew it for one month, with no limits on renewals.

Jim Moran, city planning and zoning board member, said the new fee could be $100 because it’s similar to what other surrounding areas charge.

Councilman Eric Thompson wanted the city to look into the actual cost to the city in giving and enforcing the permits to determine the new fee.

“We want to cover the cost, certainly, but in no way should this be a profit center for the city,” Thompson said.

He requested that City Manager Jack Haney look into actual costs to the city before the ordinance is changed.

Moran said the planning and zoning committee is suggesting the new permits be valid for 30 nonconsecutive days and nonrenewable.

The vendors would be required to notify the city if they moved, so the city can keep track of where the vendors are and how long they’ve been there.

As the ordinance now stands, vendors can move from various locations as long as they have permission from the property owner.

Seeing both sides

Councilman Phil Beer said he understands why some people would want to close down the stands, saying trailers are easier to open and maintain than a full-service or fast-food restaurant.

Currently, two concession trailers normally operate during the week. One, a hot dog stand on Milton Boulevard, operates across from Hometown Hot Dogs.

“I don’t think we need to eliminate the vendors, but we have to make sure we’re not giving an unfair advantage to the vendors,” Beer said.

Council also was urged to think about potential safety issues vendors might bring to the city. Councilman Ray Gillespie said vendors at certain locations could cause traffic jams, “especially if there isn’t ample space or parking for customers.

He said the traffic issues could lead to safety concerns for people walking in the city.

Gillespie asked for other council members to send any concerns back to the planning and zoning committee, who will further discuss the ordinance later this month and have recommendations for council at the next meeting July 16.

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