Bay talks transient vendor ordinance; schedules workshop
By Cassandra Favre Staff Writer
Nov 14, 2017, 16:48
Last week, the Bay St. Louis City Council discussed the city's existing temporary structure ordinance.
Councilman Gene Hoffman said that the current transient vendor law needs to be "adjusted."
"It kind of goes in a circle and basically allows for transient vendors, if transient vendors come in and apply for a permit and pay the transient vendor fee, they can be issued a license for six months," Hoffman said.
Hoffman said the vendors can pay an additional fee to extend their licenses another three or six months.
Hoffman added that if anything is considered "made by hand, then the transient vendor does not have to apply for a license and obtain a permit."
"There's been discussion back and forth about what is considered to be made by hand," Hoffman said.
Hoffman said there has been discussion about putting a "minimal" permit fee amendment in the current ordinance to allow transient vendors into the city "if they're coming in on a very temporary basis, possibly paying a much smaller fee."
A temporary basis could include a weekend event, he said.
Hoffman said transient vendors could possibly pay the fees to event hosts or to the city directly.
Hoffman said permitting would need to go through the city's code office so city officials know which transient vendors are operating in town and that the vendors have a proper tax ID number.
Another item open for discussion is the temporary structure or "tent" ordinance, Hoffman said. That ordinance deals with temporary structures that are not allowed for habitation, storage or business purposes.
"Tents are delineated as one of the temporary structures that are not allowed for these purposes," Hoffman said. "Through historical interpretation, modern-day shaped canopies have been considered to be tents that businesses are not allowed to be operated underneath."
After discussions with business owners throughout the city, Hoffman said he wrote some proposed changes to the ordinance and presented that proposal to council members.
"A local merchant that either owns or leases a business location and possesses a current and valid privilege license in the city of Bay St. Louis may from time to time post an outdoor sales display, not to exceed in area of 12-foot by 12-foot wide,'' Hoffman said. "This area may be covered or uncovered by any form of shade-providing canopy or device. The merchant shall be limited to one such outdoor display and sales area permit within any given 30-day period and not to include consecutive months."
Hoffman's proposal also states that merchants will also be allowed to have display areas during city-wide sanctioned events. Currently, the only event that fits that description is Cruisin' the Coast, he said.
According to the proposal, merchants will need to obtain a $15 permit from the city's code office, no less than five business days before the requested permit date, Hoffman said. The permit is valid for a 48-period from requested date. The displays would also need to be removed no later than 30 minutes after the permit's expiration.
The merchant would also need general liability coverage, Hoffman said.
The mayor's office would also have the ability to issue special event permits, he added.
"It allows for a merchant to have an outdoor display sales area up to six times a year with the contingency that they have to come in, get their site-plan approved, pay their $15 fee, get their permit issued and display that permit prominently," Hoffman said.
Councilman Larry Smith asked, "what would prevent somebody who has a brick-and mortar-business to allow someone else to come in?"
Hoffman said if the person has a brick-and mortar- business and he or she decides to host an outdoor display and invite an outside vendor on their property, he or she can.
"They're the ones responsible for pulling the permit and collecting sales taxes and making sure everything is done properly through the code office," Hoffman said. "If that person is an outside transient vendor that does not have an existing vendor's license in our city, then they would have to apply for a separate transient vendor permit to do that."
Hoffman said he did not add a penalty phase, but Councilman Doug Seal said, "Section 11 is kind of a catch-all for that."
Hoffman said that having "designated vendor transient days" has also been discussed.
The council scheduled a workshop to discuss the ordinance for Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 4:30 p.m. prior to the regularly scheduled meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m.