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Mood inviting to sell on public property

'When they want this, they can come ask us'

Grangeville City Hall

Grangeville City Hall

— Selling knives, fresh produce, a hot sandwich?

City code hasn’t changed but rather a clarification in procedure that may ease the way for vendors to set up temporary trailers within city limits to sell their wares.

At the Feb. 5 Grangeville City Council meeting, consensus was for the status quo in existing code that prohibits commercial business on city property, with exceptions granted for vendors during special events; those include Border Days, Octoberfest and Grangeville Farmers’ Market.

However, discussion was these requests hadn’t been making it before the council for review and determination but instead were being handled informally.

“When they want this, they can come ask us. Before, it didn’t hit here,” said councilor Beryl Grant.

So, councilors were clear on inviting those interested in this activity to come before them with requests.

“I don’t see a problem with the existing ordinance,” said councilor Scott Winkler, which followed discussion – and subsequent rejection — on whether code changes, including a business license fee, were needed.

“They can come talk to us,” he said.

The discussion follows up on an issue raised at last November’s candidates’ forum, which mayor Wes Lester referenced as brought up then by Sheila Arnzen of Shiznits. Her concern was on being denied to cater events on city property for events, such as a Grangeville Centennial Library party, and suggesting city code changes – perhaps a business license – to allow this for vendors in the future.

“If a business wants to set up to cater for an event, why can’t that happen?” questioned councilor Amy Farris.

As an option to consider, city clerk Tonya Kennedy referenced an Orofino business licensing schedule for both fixed and mobile businesses at $35 annually. These involve an initial inspection by city staff, but not afterwards in annual renewals. For vendors, the license would allow for five different events during the year.

But an ordinance change was brought into question by councilors and the mayor in defining what constituted a special event and how determinations would be made. It was also questioned on both whether that fee would be worth staff time to conduct such inspections and to have a high enough fee would not make it worth it for vendors.

In deciding requests, police chief Morgan Drew advised the council on his experience in larger urban areas where multiple vendors would operate daily, and the impact this had with both foot and vehicle traffic. Areas around city property, such as Pioneer Park, “are not designed for that,” on a daily basis, he said, but for vendors setting up at special events, parked on side streets, should not be an issue.

Lester said he personally did not have a problem with letting vendors set up, and he advised the council to take issues, such as raised by chief Drew, under consideration when considering requests.

This issue transitioned later in the meeting concerning a concessions stand five-year lease agreement with Grangeville Youth Baseball (GYB). Council approved the lease Monday night, noting this allowed GYB to sublease to whomever it wanted to provide concessions.

Last year, council reached an impasse on the agreement, the main sticking point being GYB using Shiznits, a private commercial business, to operate on public property. As explained last year, having a business provide concessions resulted due to a lack of volunteers to run the stand, and operations costing GYB more than it made.

Councilor Grant reiterated her opinion from last year, stating the city shouldn’t be micromanaging how and with whom GYB chooses to operate the stand.


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