Newest find at F’ville flea markets — more city rules
The idea of putting an increased restrictions on flea markets got a first read at the Aug. 16 meeting of the Fayetteville City Council. Those restrictions are aimed largely at prohibiting sales in flea market parking lots.
Though rules governing flea markets currently exist, city Director of Planning and Economic Development Brian Wismer in an Aug. 3 letter said the intent of the ordinance is to provide formal guidelines for flea markets and not to prohibit them. Those guidelines would come with high standards of performance, he said.
The city is sympathetic to the current business climate, Wismer said, adding the prolonged downturn in the economy has made flea markets a more popular business model for generating income. Wismer also noted that the emergence of flea markets can lead to a negative public perception that commercial development in the area is declining.
Wismer said city staff has fielded numerous citizen complaints and concerns about existing flea markets, adding that those businesses have created the need for ongoing staff inspections due to code violations and general safety concerns. Those concerns pertain primarily to conditions in the parking lots.
The current ordinance allows sales in parking lots, while the amended ordinance prohibits those sales. That is due largely to the city not having the staff to enforce the current version of the ordinance, said Wismer.
As written, the ordinance would allow flea markets as special exceptions only in the C-3 (Highway Commercial) and M-1 (Light Manufacturing) zoning districts. The proposed ordinance sets parameters for zoning, licensing, establishes interior design criteria and prohibits vendor sales in parking lots.
As for the various vendors at Fayetteville Market Day and the distinction between that venue and that of a flea market operation, Wismer said Market Day is city-sponsored and operates only six times per year as opposed to flea markets than can be open year-round. The city also ensures that safety and sanitation precautions are taken in the highly-visible Market Day operations in downtown Fayetteville.
The council will hear the second reading of the proposed ordinance in September.