Columbus to draft new ordinance regulating peddlers

Published 6:26 pm Thursday, March 24, 2011

Door to door sales likely to be banned
Some Columbus Town Council members have expressed  concern that peddlers hurt local businesses.
Town council decided Tuesday, March 22 to draft a new, more stringent peddler ordinance that will include banning door- to-door sales.
Discussions on the peddler ordinance began following Valentine’s Day when a vendor sold flowers in the town. Currently, a peddler can sell items in Columbus after paying $25 for a permit.
Councilwoman Margaret Metcalf said when a hotdog vendor sets up in town it hurts local restaurants and a flower vendor hurts local flower shops on Valentine’s Day.
“I’d lean more toward not having (peddlers),” Metcalf said.
Columbus Mayor Eric McIntyre said he is leaning toward Metcalf’s opinion in that Columbus businesses are the ones that pay taxes.
“It’s not that we don’t want to support entrepreneurs, we just want to help people who are already established here so we don’t lose business,” McIntyre said.
Council made it clear that they don’t want to ban non-profit fundraisers, such as Girl Scout cookie selling, car washes and local fish fries. Vendors for festivals would also be exempt.
Councilman Richard Hall said, however, that there was a situation last year when the high school prom and the local dance recital were held on the same night and the local flower businesses couldn’t handle the demand on one night.
Councilwoman Ernie Kan said there are a lot of requirements the town could put into the new peddler ordinance to discourage peddlers, such as requiring background checks.
Kan also suggested the town make the permit larger, so it can be displayed by peddlers and everyone will know they are a legitimate operation.
Council members and the mayor were all in agreement that the town does not want to allow door-to-door sales.
Council agreed to submit ideas to town manager Jonathan Kanipe for the new ordinance and plan to discuss it further next month.

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