Council may alter bill on roadside stands

January 16, 1996|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

Key provisions of a proposal to ease restrictions on roadside vendors may be challenged tonight by several Anne Arundel County Council members.

Two members said yesterday that they want to eliminate a proposal that would allow vendors in areas zoned for offices and strip shopping centers. And another is thinking of adding a provision that would require a review after two years to ensure the law is working.

James "Ed" DeGrange, a Glen Burnie Democrat, and Council President Diane R. Evans, an Arnold Republican, said it is sensible to allow farmers to sell produce from roadside stands in agricultural districts, but not to allow vendors to operate in all commercial areas.

Councilman Bert L. Rice, an Odenton Republican, called for the review provision.

"The bill would have a sunset to it," he said. "If we don't feel it is getting the results it should, then we should just get rid of it. If yes, it is working, then we could keep it. "

In July, the council approved legislation sponsored by Mr. DeGrange that required roadside merchants to obtain county permits, limited them to commercial areas and required adequate parking. That law was supported by garden shop and seafood house owners who said that the growing number of vendors, primarily along Ritchie Highway, took money out of their pockets.

When it went into effect Oct. 1, South County farmers, who depend on roadside stands, said they would suffer, and council members Thomas W. Redmond Sr., John J. Klocko III, William Mulford and Mr. Rice sponsored a proposal that would require the license fee and regular inspections of merchants' goods. Their proposal also would relax commercial restrictions, permitting roadside vendors to operate near the small shops whose owners consider them a threat and in office areas.

"I would like to see that out," Mr. DeGrange said. "I think it would be the right thing to do."

Mr. Redmond favors the provision, saying that anyone who owns property zoned for commercial use should be allowed to put a vendor on it.

"We are divided," Ms. Evans said. "The bill may look different by the end of [this] evening."

Any change would further delay a vote. An amendment approved last month, which would require vendors to pay a $50 relocation fee in addition to the $250 yearly license fee if they want to move to a spot other than the one listed on their license, pushed the vote to tonight. Any changes tonight would move a vote to Feb. 5.

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