City planners say proposed changes to vendor laws need work

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Chrissy Russell doesn't want proposed changes to the city of Murfreesboro's ordinance that regulates temporary vendors to put her out of business.

Six months out of the year, she sells shaved ice from a concession trailer in the Toys R Us parking lot off Old Fort Parkway.

She expressed concerns regarding proposed changes to the city's ordinance regarding the length of time temporary vendors such as Christmas tree, fireworks, food and other vendors can operate within the city limits, the deposits they have to pay and the distance a vendor can sell from another vendor during a public hearing before the Murfreesboro Planning Commission Wednesday night.

The planning commission agreed the proposed amendments to the ordinance need to go back to the drawing board. They deferred action on the proposed amendments.

Some of the proposed changes include limiting the amount of days vendors can sell each year from six months to 14 days, increasing the deposit to be paid to the city which varies depending on type of vendor, only allowing temporary vendors more than 1,000 feet from each other and only allowing vendors to set up on pavement, concrete or other non-dust producing surfaces.

Russell said increasing deposits for temporary vendors from $400 to $1,000 is "excessive."

"The biggest issue for me is changing from six months down to 14 days," she added. "I don't understand why it has to change so much."

Russell said she couldn't afford to operate for that short of time.

Joseph Aydelott, planning director, admitted some of the proposed changes might be too tight.

The zoning change would affect independent businesses set up on a parking lot or similar location. Common examples include food stands, sunglasses vendors, vacuum cleaners, sports memorabilia, peach or fruit vendors or vendors peddling artwork.

City officials have expressed concern over traffic flow and safety issues vendors can create. They also don't like the look of having vendors set up across the city year round.

Many of these vendors also set up illegally in the city, operating without a city permit or in the city right of way.

Aydelott said 14 days is too short a length of time for some vendors, but six months as currently allowed is too long.

He said vendors setting up in gravel or dirt lots create storm water problems.

Aydelott said there is a proliferation of new gravel sites. They become a storm water problem.

He said unlicensed vendors in particular are "unsafe.

"They are problematic," he said. "We don't need to create havens for them."
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Business, Joseph Aydelott, Murfreesboro, Planning Commission, Planning Department
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Members Opinions:
June 07, 2007 at 12:00am
Is Murfreesboro becoming the USSR? I think there are more pressing matters, such as radioactive waste and traffic

Vendors need to be licensed, show proper liability, pay a reasonable fee to vend if more than 1 day a week. End of story! that would eliminate all the fly by night and illegal ones.
June 07, 2007 at 12:00am
I hope that the folks in authority will not eliminate the home town atmosphere that we still have some of. All the small vendors that provide good ribs, chicken, burgers, shirts, hats, and many other items are providing a service. I don't believe that any large business has declared bankruptcy because of the small business / neighborhood vendor.
June 08, 2007 at 12:00am
There are ice cream trucks all over town.
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