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Monday, July 15, 2013

New public property vending ordinance expected to be introduced today

President of Atlanta Vendor Association Larry Miller (third from left) led a protest this spring in the shadow of the Final Four festivities
  • Joeff Davis/CL File
  • President of Atlanta Vendor Association Larry Miller (third from left) led a protest this spring in the shadow of the Final Four festivities
A new solution to help Atlanta's street vendors return to selling goods on public property might be on the way.

Sources tell CL that a public property vending ordinance will likely be introduced by Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond at today's meeting. The measure, we're told, would allow street vendors use the city's private kiosks free of charge until a new permanent plan is put into place.

In recent months, dozens of street salespeople have protested after being sidelined from selling goods on public property. The trouble started last December when a Fulton County Superior Court ruling effectively struck down Atlanta's vending laws, including a 2009 contract that required vendors to lease private kiosks for up to $1,450 per month - a major increase from public property vending licenses that once cost $250 per year. Following Fulton County Judge Shawn Ellen LaGrua's decision, the city cracked down on vendors right before the Final Four took place.

Bond's ordinance would effectively create a temporary plan to help vendors return to work, given that there aren't clear-cut rules at the moment. Although the measure would allow vending to continue on public property, it would potentially concede vending at Five Points, which had been a major source of contention with some city officials in the past.

The new ordinance could remain in effect until Mayor Kasim Reed unveils a new vending program later this year. Once introduced, the short-term solution would be referred to City Council's public safety committee for further examination in the coming weeks.

We've reached out to Reed's office and Atlanta Vendors Association President Larry Miller for comment. If we hear back from either, we'll post an update.

UPDATE, 2:40 p.m.: Reed spokeswoman Anne Torres tells CL about the mayor's position: "We're still working on a comprehensive solution. We will review the legislation once it's introduced."

Meanwhile, CL has just obtained a copy of the new vending ordinance. It seeks to help those who had previously held vending permits in 2012. It'll also apply to those selling goods near Turner Field.

It's pretty long read (see the full thing here), so we've included an excerpt after the jump:

WHEREAS, the City of Atlanta Charter provides that the City of Atlanta may lease,
regulate the use of, and control public ways located in the City of Atlanta. Atlanta City
Charter, 2-102(c)(14); and

WHEREAS, "[t]he streets [and public ways] belong to the public and are primarily for
the use of the public in the ordinary way. Their use for the purposes of gain is special
and extraordinary, and, generally at least, may be prohibited or conditioned as the
legislature deems proper." Packard v. Banton, 264 U.S. 140, 144 (1924); Schlesinger v.
City of Atlanta, 129 S.E. 861, 867 (1925) (individuals do not have the inherent right to
conduct their private businesses in the streets and public property of a city, and a city
may prohibit such business activities); and

WHEREAS, on September 2, 2008, the Atlanta City Council adopted 08-O-1220,
which was approved by the Mayor on September 8, 2008; and

WHEREAS, 08-O-1220 amended Chapter 30, Article XXIII of the City of Atlanta Code
of Ordinances to create a Public Property Vending Management Program coordinated
under a contract with a Public Property Vending Management Company which would
manage public property vending in the City of Atlanta; and

WHEREAS, following the passage of 08-O-1220, certain parties were issued permits to
vend within the Public Property Vending Management Program in accordance with the
prescriptions contained in Chapter 30, Article XXIII as amended by 08-O-1220; and

WHEREAS, due to various delays in the implementation of the Public Property
Vending Management Program, other parties were permitted, though various
temporary legislative and administrative actions, to continue to vend pursuant to
permits issued pursuant to Chapter 30, Article XXIII as it existed during calendar year
2003; and2

WHEREAS, on July 28, 2011, a lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of Fulton
County challenging the constitutionality of the Public Property Vending Ordinances
enacted pursuant to 08-O-1220, and the resulting Public Property Vending
Management Agreement. Larry Miller and Stanley Hambrick v. City of Atlanta,
2011CV203707; and

WHEREAS, on December 21, 2012, the Superior Court issued an Order declaring The
Public Property Vending Ordinances and the Public Property Vending Management
Agreement void and without effect; and

WHEREAS, as a result, Chapter 30, Article XXIII is now void and without effect; and

WHEREAS, therefore, no public property vending permits may be issued thereunder,
and those previously so issued are no longer in effect; and

WHEREAS, the continued public property vending of those who were issued permits
during the 2003 calendar year is no longer permitted as Chapter 30, Article XXIII, as it
existed prior to the approval of 08-O-1220 was lawfully repealed by the Atlanta City
Council; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with the December 21, 2012 Superior Court Order, it is the
desire of the Atlanta City Council to remove the void text of Chapter 30, Article XXIII
from the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances; and

WHEREAS, it is the desire of the City of Atlanta to develop a new permanent public
property vending program; and

WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Atlanta City Council that certain persons vending
during calendar year 2012 be permitted to apply for temporary public property vending
permits to allow them to continue vending between the removal of the void text of
Chapter 30, Article XXIII from the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances and the eventual
approval of a new permanent public property vending program; and

WHEREAS, in an attempt to develop a new permanent public property vending
program, the City of Atlanta is reviewing various examples of public property vending
programs across the United States and assessing the unique needs of the City of Atlanta
as they relate to public property vending; and

WHEREAS, in doing so the City of Atlanta is considering the inclusion of certain
locations previously determined to be suitable for public property vending; and

WHEREAS, the locations wherein kiosks have been installed in the City's right of way
have previously been determined to be suitable for public property vending; and

WHEREAS, because the City of Atlanta has previously established a desire to promote
vending on property in connection with events held at athletic venues having a seating
capacity in excess of 3,500, ACC ยงยง 1461; 1468, and thus, locations near Turner Field
have previously been determined to be suitable for public property vending; and 3

WHEREAS, the City of Atlanta is considering the inclusion of the kiosk locations and
the public property vending locations established prior to the approval of 08-O-1220
near Turner Field in a permanent public property vending program; and

WHEREAS, during the City's development of a permanent public property vending
program, it is the desire of the Atlanta City Council to re-create the status-quo as it
existed before the issuance of the Court's Order in Larry Miller and Stanley Hambrick
v. City of Atlanta, 2011CV203707 as it relates to persons vending at the locations being
considered for inclusion in a permanent public property vending program; and

WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Atlanta City Council that individuals previously
issued permits to vend at the kiosk locations and the public property vending locations
established prior to the approval of 08-O-1220 near Turner Field have the opportunity
to apply for temporary permits to vend at their previously assigned kiosk and Turner
Field vending locations; and

WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Atlanta City Council to adopt temporary regulations
which shall govern those granted temporary public property vending permits; and

WHEREAS, it is the desire that all fees associated with the issuance of temporary
public property vending permits be identical to those applicable to private property
vending permits issued pursuant to Chapter 30, Article XXIV, and established by
Ordinance 04-O-0615; and

WHEREAS, it is the desire of the Atlanta City Council that all temporary public
property vending regulations created by the approval of this Ordinance, and all
temporary public property vending permits issued in accordance with this Ordinance
shall expire on December 31, 2013.

THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ATLANTA, GEORGIA HEREBY
ORDAINS, as follows:

Section 1: That Chapter 30, Article XXIII of the City of Atlanta Code of Ordinances,
(Vending on Public Property), is hereby amended by repealing the text thereof, as set
forth in Exhibit A, in its entirety.

Section 2: That Chapter 30, Article XXIII shall be amended such as it shall read as
follows:

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