Rules for Naples greenspace to be decided

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — In the Town of Portland, one individual set up shop on the sidewalk and sold “marshmallow shooters,” which were actually pieces of PVC pipe. The vendor claimed his product fell into the category of art.

Attorney Mary E. Costigan, of Bernstein Shur, shared that story with the Naples Board of Selectmen as it reviewed a proposed ordinance to control use of the town’s green space.

“You have all this green space, and you don’t have people setting up hot dog carts wherever they want,” she said.

“Very broadly what this (proposed ordinance) does is it allows a permitting system for street vendors. On public property, it gives the town the chance to create designated” areas and types of commerce, Costigan said.

Additionally, the town would be able to preserve its festivals and special events by creating a buffer between vendors that are part of the event and those who sell their wares on private property.

On Monday night, the board provided feedback about and edited the proposed ordinance. Also, a special meeting occurred on Wednesday to finalize changes and formally make the document into a warrant item.

The ordinance will go before Naples citizens at the annual town meeting on June 5.

The land-use ordinance has a name that is almost longer than the Naples Causeway. It is called the “Town of Naples Ordinance Regulating Businesses Utilizing Publicly-Owned or Controlled Lands within the Town of Naples, other Activities on those Lands, and Private Property Vendors.”

According to Town Manager Derik Goodine, the ordinance has been a work in progress for about two years and has been scrutinized by three different legal counselors.

If adopted by the town, the ordinance would permit seasonal vendors — mobile businesses that pay an annual fee to lay claim to a space on the Causeway. Even during weekend festivals, those seasonal vendors would be allowed to conduct business as usual.

“If there is a festival going on, you can stay there while the festival goes on around you,” Costigan said.

Meanwhile, vendors that are associated with an event or a festival, such as the Maine Blues Festival, would be permitted under the umbrella of the particular festival. Those would be short-term vendor permits.

Also, the proposed ordinance addresses private property, over which the town has little control.

Because it is private property, the town cannot govern what types of vendors set up shop, other than requiring those people to get a license, Costigan said.

The town and festival organizers can create a buffer around the designated venues where the festival is occurring, she said, adding that approach would help accommodate traffic flow.

“However, if there is a festival going on, the vendors on public property have to be at least 25 feet apart. So, you don’t have a flea market effect,” Costigan said. One goal of the proposal is to maintain in the green space a cohesive, non-cluttered look — especially after years of work by the Causeway Restoration Committee (CRC) to create an aesthetic public space.

Selectman Rick Paraschak suggested requiring vendors to use the same type of trash receptacles as the town has ordered for the Causeway.

CRC Chairman Bob Neault, who was present at Monday’s meeting, recommended protecting the stain on the boardwalk.

“If you are going to be on the boardwalk, we may want to make certain the sealant is not damaged,” Neault said.

Town Manager Goodine said the board’s objective has been to put an ordinance in place before the completion of the Causeway green space.

“We keep getting calls from street vendors who want to come and sell Italian ice, and we say we don’t allow that right now,” he said.

“But, that time is coming up,” Goodine said.

 

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