Vendor Buggies Could Face Changes

By
Caleigh Bourgeois

Dateline
Updated Tue, Nov 27, 2012 4:42 pm

Each morning Thomas Fitzmaurice drives his mobile business, Uptown Sweaters, to a metered spot on Union Street, and pays the meter every few hours as any other driver would.

But he may not be able to much longer, if Athens City Council approves a recently introduced ordinance.
 
The council is considering a number of changes to vendor cart regulations.
 
Right now, vendors in A spots, like Ali Babas and Burrito Buggie, pay an annual fee to reserve their locations. 
 
However, vendors in B spots, like Uptown Sweaters, pay at the meter, and must find an open space to park each day.
 
The proposed changes would assign specific locations for both A and B vendors, but would require B Vendors to pay an annual fee as well, which could be up to 75% more than the rate they're used to paying.
 
This is bad news for Fitzmaurice, who feels the system is unfair to begin with. He said, "I think that meters should be open for public parking if it's not used, which has been somewhat my gripe about A and B differences. Equal on both sides. Meters on both, and just pay for a bag as you're going to vend.
 
For vendors in the A area these changes wouldn't be as drastic. For the most part, it would mean customers would go right across the street to purchase a snack. 
 
But Nisar Shaikh, owner of Ali Babas, is still conflicted. He likes the idea of the extra College Green traffic across the street, but is nervous about conducting business in the narrow parking space.
 
"This side is wider parking, bigger parking spots, so lots of people can stand up to buy. The other side is narrow," he said.
 
Like the wheels on his sweater shop, the wheels in Fitzmaurice's head are turning with a plan of action to prevent the changes.
 
"I'm looking forward to working with city council to work this out," said Fitzmaurice.
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