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City Council discusses changes to parking licenses for street vendors

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City Council discusses changes to parking licenses for street vendors. Photo by Sarah Donaldson.

The council also addressed the city’s 2019 budget and hiking rates for sewage fees

City Council discussed an ordinance proposing potential changes to parking licenses for street vendors at the body’s meeting Monday night.

If approved, the ordinance would change street vendor’s parking license fee from an annual fee to a monthly fee, giving vendors more flexibility to choose what months to operate. If vendors opt out of paying a month, the parking space opens up to the public.

The monthly fee for a vendor’s parking license would be divided into license types: A licenses and B licenses.

Vendors with A licenses would pay $125 a month for a parking license.

B licenses would be reserved for new vendors. For the first 12 months, a B license vendor would pay half of the $125; for the following 12 months, the vendor would pay 75 percent of the $125. After this 24-month period, the vendor would pay full price for a license.

Councilmember Pat McGee expressed his support for moving the fee from yearly to monthly, calling it a good first step.

“I am quite sympathetic to the vendors,” McGee said. “I realize how difficult it is to make a living vending in Athens.”

McGee raised concerns — which he felt were left unaddressed with the ordinance — advocating for more of a “use it or lose it” approach to vendor’s licenses.

“We have a vendor who will be paying for a month, and it may be a surprising month,” McGee said. “They may pay for the month of March, thinking that it might be good weather, and it might be terrible weather all through that time.”

Damon Krane, the owner and operator of the Hot Potato Food Truck and a member of City Council’s ad-hoc committee on the issue, attended the meeting and spoke in favor of the ordinance.

“I think that it gives us the flexibility we need,” Krane said. “It gives us the time table we need.”

The body also discussed the city’s budget for 2019. The council recognized that there were not a lot of significant changes to the budget in comparison to previous budgets.

In other business:

  • The council discussed a proposed licensure and land use agreement with Ohio University.
  • The council discussed rate hikes for sewage fees.
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