By Tammy Gray –
“Unless you change your mind, that’s what we’ll continue to do: enforce our code,” City Manager Ray Alley told the council Tuesday evening regarding new efforts to control vendors at the swap meet on the mesa.
Alley explained that following a homicide at the swap meet, Vice Mayor Charles Haussman asked him to research city code to determine whether the swap meet met city requirements. He found that the code requires a special use permit for transient businesses, such as those at the swap meet. After finding that only one of the vendors has followed the proper permitting procedures, Alley asked Chief of Police Mark Jackson to start enforcing the code.
Jackson told the council that the shooting was only one in a series of problems the police department had been dealing with at the swap meet, and apologized for not researching and enforcing the code sooner. Alley noted that he also did not consider researching the issue until after the homicide.
“It started at administration, and we should have looked into it a long time ago,” he said.
City Clerk Cher Reyes told the council that in order for a swap meet to legitimately operate, a special use permit must be approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission. In considering whether to approve such a permit, the commission must consider the impact of the activity, and whether there is adequate access and egress, parking, lighting, trash containment and restrooms. She noted that currently the only vendor who has sought proper permitting is the proprietor of the burrito stand.
“She has gone through the steps to do it properly,” Alley remarked.
Jackson noted that he has been asking all other vendors to leave.
Alley also pointed out that the code is being enforced in all areas of town, not just at the swap meet on the mesa. For example, vendors setting up in the vacant lot across from Safeway must also have the proper permits or they will be asked to leave.
Alley noted that the code is already in existence and no action is required by the city council, but he wanted council members and the public to be aware that the code is now being enforced.
“It’s already an ordinance, and I asked the chief (of police) to start enforcing it,” he said. “We’re not going to be chasing anyone off if they have the permits, but this gives us more control of it. That’s the direction I’m going to go unless the council wants to change it.”
Council members took no action, but gave informal support to Alley’s action.
“Enforce away,” said Councilman Wade Carlisle.