2 min read
Posted on 05.26.10
  • 2 min read
  • Posted on 05.26.10

Several of you have asked me what can be done to allow pretzel vendors to continue to sell their wares along Jamieson. Others have asked me why the City's ordinances were not being enforced against increasingly aggressive selling.

Here is the situation. Several municipal ordinances regulate vendors (i.e, temporary and itinerant businesses). In general, vendors must remain on sidewalks or public rights of way and, where they are allowed by ordinance, must have permits. The Board of Aldermen has approved several areas, including parts of downtown, the riverfront, and city parks, in which vendors are allowed. They could, by further action, create additional vending zones along Jamieson (or anywhere else).

City inspectors generally have more urgent things to do than chase after octogenarian pretzel salesmen. If no one is hurting anyone, we generally don't enforce minor ordinance violations. For instance, some kids set up a skateboard park underneath a road overpass. Because they were not hurting anyone, we allowed them to stay there. We even installed trash cans for the kids to keep the place clean.

However, City departments do have an obligation to respond to residents' complaints and to treat all businesses fairly. For whatever reason, the pretzel vendors were getting more and more aggressive. We got complaints from residents that the City was not enforcing the law.

The City is in the middle. If you complain about things like this, we will enforce the ordinances as the Board of Aldermen writes them. If you don't, we probably will not.

As for pretzels, I am a customer. I plan to buy one the next time I see a vendor. You should do the same. Or don't.