Vendors: How much will we pay to do business in Naples?

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — How much will vendors be charged to sell products — including food — outdoors?

That is one of the questions that was nailed down during a workshop for the proposed amendments to the Town of Naples’ Street Vendor Ordinance.

Several business owners and citizens met with the Naples Board of Selectmen on Monday to go over revisions to the street vendor ordinance, which was approved at Town Meeting last year.

The town-contracted lawyer, Mary Costigan, and Casco Code Enforcement Officer (CEO) Renee Carter were on hand to explain the changes and answer questions.

After an hour-long workshop, the board directed Costigan to add the proposed revisions to the entire ordinance, and reschedule another workshop.

“We had gotten further. The next thing will be (to review) everything together in a big packet,” Selectman Robert Caron II said.

The only time that business owners will be required to pay a licensing fee is when they place items in the public rights-of-way. This pertains to the sale of food and beverages in an al fresco dining area, and it also pertains to the sale of products displayed in the ROW.

For this license, there will be a one-time fee of $2,000 plus an annual fee of $4 per square foot, or $20 per item.

The $2,000 permit fee would remain with the business until it changes hands. Then, the new owner would be required to re-apply for the license to sell wares on public land, according to Costigan.

The town would have the right to designate which areas on the Causeway and around the Village Green would be available to street vendors.

“The town would draw up a map” of designated areas,” Caron II said.

The town attorney added, “You can only be a street vendor on public property if you are in the designated space.”

Additionally, the board of selectman would maintain the right to waive any fees for vending licenses.

According to Costigan, the proper language is waiver, not grandfather rights. Essentially, no one would have grandfather rights because allowing businesses to operate as they may have in the past — using the ROWs as extensions of the business without a license — is not legally binding. A waiver would have to be granted by the board on an annual, case-by-case basis.

Selectman Rick Paraschak addressed his view of granting waivers.

“The waiver thing, whether it is this board or the next board, it is a delicate ground. People might say you are playing favorites. We could waive everything. We need the rules in place,” Paraschak said.

On private, residentially-zoned property, there would be no fee to hold a garage sale or sell a few handmade items or sell firewood. The restrictions and rules for that situation are covered under The Home Occupancy Ordinance, Carter said.

However, if a person sells goods on someone else’s property, that person must get a vendor’s permit.

But, a true street vendor — such as a hot dog stand would not be allowed to set up shop on private, residential property, Costigan said.

The street vendor applies to commercial district only, she said.

To illustrate that the workshops were helpful in the evolution of the proposed changes to the street vendor ordinance, board members explained how business owners in the community had brought about some of those changes.

“After all these hearings, we compromised on the fact that the $2,000 fee is not a yearly thing,” Paraschak said.

“And, the private property — we dropped that,” CEO Carter added.

Caron II said, “Yes, it will only affect the public land.”

“If someone stays on his own property, then there would be no fee,” Caron II said.

 

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