Home Money City Looks to Redefine Vending Area Permits

City Looks to Redefine Vending Area Permits

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The street vendors of Athens may have a change in how they conduct their businesses following Tuesday night’s city council committee meetings.

At-Large Rep. Steve Patterson addressed his fellow members about the change in vending opportunities during the Planning and Development Committee.

“We will be re-tooling the vending code,” Patterson said. “We are making several changes such as consolidating the vending areas and re-defining B permits.”

Vending areas are split into A and B license holders along the north and south sides of East Union Street with A holding vehicles residing on the north side and B vehicles on the south, according to the current vending legislation.

It is the council’s hope to move vending from the north side of the street in order to create four more spaces that could be used to allocate a handicap parking space and possibly additional loading docks for area businesses.

“We have had several requests to move to the south side of the street,” Service Safety Director Paula Mosely said.

Payment for the new permits would differ from the current plan. The new plans include re-defining the “B” permits that are currently set for vendors to pay on a first-come, first-serve basis and through feeding the city’s parking meters.

The new plan will change the payment method for “B” permits to force the vendor to pay 50 percent of the charge for “A” permits in their first year of vending within the city. In their second year, the fee will be increased to 75 percent of what it costs for an “A” permit. Currently, the cost for an “A” permit for any vendor is $1,800 per year in business.

“We kept grappling with how to monitor fair paying of the meter,” Patterson said. “But there is no way to offer it.”

Council members also expressed their concern about vendors attempting to cheat the system by dropping out of service to avoid the increase in cost to the city and then returning at a lower rate.

“It could not be that it [vending license] goes from one family member to another or that they could change the vendor’s business name,” Patterson said. “Only after  five years of terminating their business period could the vendor start over at 50 percent.”

For now, city council plans to move forward with the legislation and hopefully present it as an ordinance by January of 2013. Some members also suggested putting the new text on the city’s website for vendors to reference.

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