City Council sides with sidewalk vendors

Councilors reject amended ordinance prohibiting sidewalk vendors from operating within 200 feet of Farmers Market.

I enjoy buying goods from the sidewalk vendors. You cannot blame them for not wanting to pay the money and pass inspection for being on Main Street. 

From the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. 

The Moscow City Council unanimously voted to reject a proposed amended city ordinance that would have prohibited sidewalk vendors from operating within 200 feet of the Farmers Market boundaries during market hours.

The Farmers Market Commission has discussed the issue of non-market vendors operating in close proximity or on the boundary of the Farmers Market for a couple years and it recommended the council approve the change to keep market vendors and the sidewalk and mobile vendors separate and distinct.

Councilman Jim Boland said he strenuously opposed the passage of the amended city code. He said the amended ordinance does not benefit anyone and harms some.

“The small handful of licensed street vendors do no harm to the Farmers Market and in fact may add to the attraction in some cases,” Boland said.

Councilwoman Gina Taruscio said she wanted to know the percentage of local food mixes or ingredients that are required for vendors to be part of the Farmers Market.

“I do think that it is important that the market continue and that we support it but I don’t think it should come at the detriment of local business,” Taruscio said.

Ray Wallace, owner of Buy the Dozen Donuts, 104 E. Sixth St., said he was concerned the proposed amendment targeted his business, which he said has been present as a sidewalk vendor next to the Farmers Market since 2009.

“Operating near the market has been a critical part of our business,” Wallace said. “We have a right to earn an income. We purchased this business in 2015 with the understanding that we could set up near the Farmers Market with a sidewalk vendor’s license.”

Wallace’s wife, Jennifer Wallace, said the doughnut shop rents a space on Neely’s Travel Services’ sidewalk on the corner of Sixth and Main streets, just a short walk from the brick and mortar doughnut establishment.