Peddlers, vendors and ice cream trucks: East Jordan's policies may soon change
East Jordan (July 17, 2013)
Currently, only nonprofit or civic service fundraising activities are allowed to set up vendor stands in city parks and fees are required for all for-profit transient ventures within the city, such as an ice cream truck.
But, reports Yonker, there are many inconsistencies in the way the ordinance reads and how it is currently applied and enforcement is weak.
"The East Jordan farmers market operates in Sportsman Park. At that event there are sales of goods, wares or merchandise that have been grown or raised by the seller ... but there are also sales of other items, including prepared foods and craft items, which are not permitted under the ordinance," he said, adding that sales by private individuals that occur at the city's ball parks are also not permitted under the ordinance.
Yonker hopes the committee can come up with language that allows current uses such as the farmers market and ball park concessions to continue, but may also allow the possibility for food and other vendors to operate within the city, in a way the city commission sees as acceptable and that can promote placemaking.
"With the city commission embracing the concepts of the Main Street program and placemaking, we should seek to encourage these types of businesses and entrepreneurs, but in a logical, enforceable way," he asserted.
Concern within the downtown business community has provided push back when the idea of allowing transient merchants in city parks came up previously.
A location such as Elm Pointe could be ideal for a food vendor, said commissioner Mark Penzien, because it is away from the downtown area and would be convenient to have something on that side of town such as a hot dog stand.
He disagrees that having a new business in town next to an existing business would be harmful, said commissioner Tony Cutler, citing the example of Magnum Hospitality opening a second restaurant in Boyne City and seeing growth in both.
"I think we have this idea that we have a finite amount of people that come to East Jordan. I believe that if it enhances and brings more people to the park, everybody would have more business. I think that it's short sighted to think it will kill one or two businesses ... I think that either we allow it or we don't. I don't want to omit (vendors based on) proximity.
A few existing businesses or the chamber of commerce should be included in the committee then, said Penzien. "They should have some way to air their concern."
In other news, the East Jordan City Commission accepted the resignation of Connie Gillespie Wednesday. Gillespie served as the city's housing commission director. The project tenant on the housing commission board, Gloria Meredith, will take over Gillespie's duties while another director is sought.
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