The Planning Commission met Tuesday to discuss new draft language that would allow minimal commercial activity in the Open Space District near the beach and boardwalk. The Open Space District is basically the area east (landward) of the toe of the dune to the Boardwalk, south of the pavilion to the fishing pier. According to staff, several vendors have “inquired about providing refreshments and beach-related amenities on the Town’s property.” Currently, this activity is not allowed in the Open Space District. The revised draft text is published below:
The Town recognizes the seasonal nature of this District. Certain limited refreshment and beach related commercial activity is compatible with the permitted uses listed below. Commercial activity shall be restricted to May 1st through September 15th, between the hours of noon through 6:00 pm. Commercial activity is restricted to the area east (landward) of the toe of the dune to the Boardwalk, south of the pavilion to the fishing pier. Individual vendor sites shall not exceed one-hundred (100) square feet. No commercial activity will be conducted from motor vehicles, and all commercial activity shall exclude the use of external generators and electronic amplification. Signage will not be affixed but may be flags and banners to a maximum of six (6) square feet in area. All vendors are required to abide by the conditions of their business license and failure to do so may result in loss of vending privileges.
During discussion, Commissioner Salopek complained that the times were too restrictive, that starting at noon was too late, and many folks would be leaving the beach just as vendors were showing up. Commissioner Buchholz agreed, and pushed for even longer hours that would incorporate evenings up to sunset. Consensus was reached to change the times to 9 a.m. until sunset.
A heated exchange between Commissioner Keith Kostek and Buchholz ensued over business license requirements and town taxes. Buchholz argued that not only would the vendors need a business license, but they would also have to pay the meal tax to the town. Kostek countered that the notion was patently ridiculous, that a cart vendor would not be able to understand sales tax. Clerk Libby Hume entered the fray noting that cart vendors must merely obtain a peddler’s license, and that meal tax was not expected by the town.
Commissioner Strub voiced serious concerns about this change to the ordinance, which he contended might lead to increased trash on the beach and boardwalk. Buchholz countered, “They have food on the beach now. How is that different?”
STRUB: We have one of, if not the cleanest beach and town in the country. I don’t want to see that change.
BUCHHOLZ: People eat on the beach now.
CHAIRMAN MCCOY: That comes down to an honor system, a trust.
STRUB: I just want to be sure we’re protecting what we have….
MCCOY: I understand your concerns, but this is not Disneyland…
COMMISSIONER BURKE: Or Bay Creek!
Burkes comment led to more heated discussions, with Buchholz taking offense the Bay Creek comment, “I’m so sick of hearing this, and so much has been written about it. We are one town, Bay Creek is part of it.”
BURKE: Yeah, but you all come in here and do whatever you want, but we can’t go in there.”
BUCHHOLZ: It’s private.
BURKE: That doesn’t change how….
BUCHHOLZ: I’m so sick of hearing it…Bay Creek is part of the incorporated town…
BURKE: I know that, Andrew….
At this point, Chairman McCoy stepped in to move the discussion along.
The consensus of the Board was to extend the hours of operation from 9 a.m. to sunset. They are also reviewing some of the guidelines used by the Farmer’s Market:
• An on-site manager is present for every market day
• The number of vendors of particular categories of goods is limited to ensure diversity at
• The on-site manager ensures that each vendor is providing only the type of good for
which the vendor received approval
• All vendors hold appropriate insurance
• All vendors are required to participate in a specific number of market days, failure to meet
that participation rate results in loss of vendor privilege and space
• All vendors are required to set up and break down during specific time periods before and
after the market activities
• There is limited on-site consumption, resulting in limited accumulation and discarding of
• Vendors of consumable goods are more successful than vendors of crafts and
• There are a number of prohibited activities including smoking, hawking, and promoting
• All vendors sign formal agreement
This topic is due for more discussion in the upcoming months. Deciding what kind of vendors and services will be allowed may be next on the agenda. The Mirror has been contacted by vendors that are concerned that the vision is still too limited; the spaces are too small, and by not allowing even ‘quiet’ generators excludes full service providers, such as food trucks.