Council tables roadside stand ordinance until fall

BURTON — The City Council voted to table the second reading of an ordinance regulating roadside stands at its May 18 meeting.

The council approved the first reading of the ordinance on May 4, but after discussion then and at this week’s meeting, most of the council chose to table the matter until the end of September.

The ordinance came to be about two months ago after the City Council Legislative Committee met and wanted to amend the city’s ordinance for roadside stands.

Deputy Department of Public Works Director Amber Abbey said she was reviewing other local ordinances and saw that in communities with temporary ordinances it became evident this should be a zoning ordinance instead of a standalone, police powered ordinance.

Abbey took the matter to the I went to the legislative committee and they agreed. A draft ordinance was prepared, and the first reading was approved May 4 by the council. At that time, Councilman Tom Martinbianco urged the council to reconsider, seeing the ordinance as a potential burden on businesses trying to recover from the COVID- 19 shutdown.

“This is totally restrictive,” he said. “Don’t be surprised if there’s a class action lawsuit.”

Martinbianco went on to say the DPW can spend this summer keeping track of roadside stands and identify where problems might exist before taking further action on the ordinance.

Abbey said the history of roadside stands in the city has mostly been fireworks and the occasional food tent. Last year, she said, the city had a business that put up a tent under the roadside stand permit and decided to run it almost like a resale shop. She said that brought the need for regulation.

Stands are also not allowed to impede the right of way and must have parking, they have to be clean and sanitary at all times, they must have written permission from the property owner if they are not the property owner, they must be able to accommodate the amount of parking spaces that the principal business needs to use.

Under the proposed ordinance, the applications are due 15 days prior to a meeting where the request is considered. The permit fee $100 permit and a $500 clean-up deposit.

Temporary roadside stands involve tents, trucks, stands or anything else vendors are using as an accessory. The city will allow them for 10 days as the actual use of the operation and then 15 days for their stuff. This will allow the extra days for set-up and take down.

For businesses that exist having sidewalk sales, they cannot have tents, trailers or structures. It has to be directly in front of the business, not in the parking lot and the items must be what is sold in their store.

At the May 18 meeting, Councilwoman Tina Conley said she was concerned about existing, longtime businesses in the city having to put down a $500 deposit.

“If they’ve been doing businesses here been a long time, I don’t feel should have to pay that,” she said. “Are we talking about someplace like Bentley Florist, they have to pay to put tent out front? Or is this like guy on Saginaw Street who had the big garage sale? These are Burton businesses that have kept us afloat.”

Martinbianco repeated his concerns May 18 and made the motion to table the second reading until late September. Conley supported his motion and it passed 4-3. City council will look at the ordnance again in the fall.