Columbus drafts more stringent peddler/vendor ordinance

Published 8:53 am Monday, August 1, 2011

The Town of Columbus is working to finalize more strict language to regulate peddlers and vendors within the town’s zoning districts.
Columbus Town Council met Thursday, July 21 and tabled a decision to adopt the amended ordinance in order to add language that will allow non-profits and school groups to solicit residences.
The town held a public hearing where no residents made public comments.
The proposed provisions of the amended ordinance include restricting commercial door-to-door sales people from going to residences.
Council members have said they don’t want residents to have unknown persons come to their homes when they have not been invited.
The language exempting non-profits from the door-to-door portion of the regulations could require non-profit organizations to go to town hall and receive a badge or permit allowing for fundraising. Politicians could also be included in the exemption.
Council members said that way if someone calls about door-to-door solicitation, town officials will know who is allowed to be visiting homes.
“It shall be unlawful for any person to go in or upon, or permit his or her representative to go in or upon, any private residential premises in the town as solicitor, peddler, hawker, itinerant merchant or transient vendor of merchandise, not having been requested or invited so to do by the occupant of the private residence or premises or having procured the occupant’s permission so to do, for the purpose of soliciting orders for the sale of goods, wares, magazines or other periodicals or merchandise, or for the purpose of distributing, disposing of, peddling or hawking the same,” states the draft ordinance.
The rules for temporary retail sales are proposed to become more stringent, including requiring a vendor to inform the town if he/she has ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor other than a minor traffic violation.
A temporary use permit application is proposed to be required at least seven days before the temporary sales use as well as the applicant being required to submit a site plan, among other requirements.
Temporary use permits are required for the sale of any food, cut flowers, beverages or merchandise from a stand.
Columbus council members began discussing their desire for more strict regulations regarding vendors earlier this year. Council members said they think some temporary sales operations allowed in town hurt local businesses, which pay taxes to support the town.
Council will likely approve the amended ordinance at its next meeting scheduled for Aug. 18.

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