New city law will target transient vendors

The definition of temporary vending in Port Orchard has changed, and some business owners are breathing a sigh of relief.

Merchants complained that temporary vendors were coming into the city on too frequent a basis, turning sales away from local businesses and contributing to the drooping downtown economy.

The problem was brought to the attention of City Councilman John Clauson, who proposed a change in the city’s ordinance at Monday night’s Council meeting.

Derived from the former term “Public Property Vending,” temporary vending is now “the act of selling goods...on a transitory or itinerant basis, on any public or private street, alley, sidewalk, parking lot or other public or private property where the general public has unrestricted access for the purpose of gain, benefit or advantage, direct or indirect to the vendor.”

A special event sales clause added to the ordinance limits will limit businesses with fixed locations inside the city limits to four such events per calendar year, not to exceed three days, and limits businesses outside the city to one event per year, also not to exceed three days.

Exemptions were given to businesses possessing a valid business license conducting a sidewalk or parking lot sale abutting their place of business, charitable and nonprofit organizations, farmers markets, vendors of books, periodicals or newspapers exempted by state or federal law, garage, yard or rummage sales and minors engaged in “entrepreneurial ventures,“ such as lemonade stands.

Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners (KAPO) Executive Director Vivian Henderson told the council she was angry about what she perceived as “the lack of public participation.”

“It’s not the government’s job to manipulate and regulate competition,” she said.

Some residents who attended the meeting voiced concern about the loss of revenue coming from vending permits. However, some downtown business owners said it’s about time.

“It is my very strong recommendation that this ordinance be put forward,” said Kraig Quisenberry of Bay Ford.

“These folks are not paying taxes to this city, but they’re taking money away from the city,” Vlist said. “I don’t see how they’re supporting us at all.”

The council voted unanimously to send the issue to the finance committee, where suggested revisions will be made.

Although interested parties will be notified and the agenda will be published before the issue is brought back to the council for a vote, a formal public hearing will not be held.

“Legally, you’re not required to have a formal public hearing,” said city attorney Loren Combs, citing the expense of advertising and the council’s history of welcoming public comment as reasons to avoid the expense.

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