Bill to curb peddlers on roadsides dies quietly

May 16, 1993|By Phyllis Brill | Phyllis Brill,Staff Writer

A controversial bill aimed at limiting the number of day roadside peddlers may operate on temporary sites died quietly in County Council chambers Tuesday night.

Its sponsor, Robert S. Wagner, R-District E, withdrew the bill, saying it had been overburdened with amendments aimed at making the measure fair to permanent establishments and temporary vendors.

In its place the council adopted a resolution urging the county to step up enforcement of zoning laws that already apply to temporary roadside businesses outside the municipalities of Bel Air, Aberdeen and Havre de Grace.

"Rather than put more laws on the books, we need to enforce what we already have and move forward from there," Mr. Wagner said.

County law requires vendors setting up temporary sales on private land to have the permission of the property owner, a county zoning permit and a state license.

Councilman Wagner said his bill, which would have reduced the number of days a vendor could operate on a single temporary site from 185 to seven, had been prompted by complaints from restaurant and store owners. The retailers complained that vendors hawking seafood, furniture and other wares out of the backs of trucks get an unfair break because they don't have to pay taxes, insurance and other overhead costs involved in maintaining an established site.

But Mr. Wagner also has said that he did not want to unduly interfere with free enterprise and that the range of amendments attached to the bill "completely changed" its scope.

Council members agreed that better enforcement of the existing law, particularly on weekends and holidays, should adequately regulate temporary roadside sales and adopted the resolution 7-0.

In other action, the council:

* Approved a bill authorizing the county executive to borrow $260,000 from the Maryland Energy Administration to replace boilers at Bel Air High School. The county will pay a 3.5 percent annual interest rate on the eight-year loan.

Roger Niles, assistant superintendent for administrative services of Harford County Schools, said the anticipated energy savings of $37,500 a year would cover the cost of the loan. He noted that the boilers are 40 years old. The project is expected to be completed in October.

* Approved a county loan application for a Small Cities Community Development Block Grant of $200,000 to make the Aberdeen Community Services Building accessible to handicapped people. Most of the loan from the Department of Housing and Community Development would finance installation of an elevator in the building on U.S. 40.

The elevator is a key project in upgrading the building that houses the Aberdeen health department and other community and family services. The building has been undergoing improvements since 1991, when an air-conditioning system was installed and the heating system replaced. The building is budgeted for roof repairs in fiscal 1994.

* Upheld a zoning hearing examiner's November 1992 ruling against a mulch-grinding operation in Jarrettsville. The council, sitting as the Zoning Board of Appeals, agreed that the mulch-grinding operation owned by Steven and Linda Schulte on Fallston Road requires a special exception permit to continue in an agricultural district.

The Schultes, who also operate a greenhouse and nursery on the property, had said the mulch-grinding was incidental to the nursery operation and posed no danger to the community.

People's Council Robert Kahoe, representing neighbors of the mulching site, likened the operation to a sawmill, adding, "It clearly constitutes a hazard in this residential neighborhood."

The council voted 5-1. President Jeffrey Wilson dissented, and Barry Glassman, a District D Republican, abstained.

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