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Town looking into transient vendor policy

aesthetics and free enterprise, the Town of Jonesborough will be looking at ways to improve its transient vendor policy.
“I think it’s wrong to not have any temporary permits,” Mayor Kelly Wolfe said during the June 13 Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting.
The recent controversy regarding a funnel cake trailer that was given permission to set up in the historic downtown has prompted the need for more defined guidelines.
Wolfe asked Town Attorney Jim Wheeler to work with Town Administrator Bob Browning on a tiered application process that would consider length of time in operation, if it will be located in the historic district, and the type of vendor.
“Transient vendors are often food, but not always,” Browning said. “They receive a permit to set up for 14 days.”
Browning said the vendor is not considered transient if located on property it has ongoing business with, such as the hot dog stand that sets up in front of the Cranberry Thistle during Music on the Square.
One of the arguments for allowing the funnel cake trailer is that owner Pat Osborne is also the proprietor of Scott County Lavender, 105 1/2 Fox Street.
“Transient vendors can’t set up on a public right-of-way, but there is nothing that prohibits them from setting up on private property,” Browning said.
In addition, special events such as the International Storytelling Festival can authorize a transient vendor to operate during the event.
“If the vendor wants to operate for a longer period of time, there may be a higher expectation of what it will look like,” Browning said. “That is what the mayor wants us to review.”
According to Browning, vendors in all areas of the town will be considered, with a goal of improving the current policy by identifying the different review bodies that may be involved.
“The Historic Zoning Commission has zoning for signage, so it was appropriate for them to review how the funnel cake trailer looked, but not for determining its use,” he said.
Browning said this is the start of a process that will identify the roles of the Historic Zoning Commission, the Tree and Townscape Board, and the Planning Commission. Final approval will come from the BMA.
Wolfe asked Wheeler and Browning to bring their ideas to the July meeting for discussion.