For food truck operators, hot dog stand owners and door-to-door salespeople, there might be another step to make before selling wares to the public in Meadville.

Meadville City Council discussed at Wednesday's work session a new potential ordinance requiring solicitors and transient retailers to obtain permits and provide the city with parameters on enforcement and penalties for violations.

For retailers that fall under the scope of the ordinance, a permit application obtained through the city clerk would cost $20. Once approved, daily fees would be $40 with electrical access and $20 without electricity. For solicitors, the application would cost $40 and the daily fee would be $5.

The cost of renting a space on a public roadway is factored into the permit price. The city has yet to specify an annual permit option.

City attorney Gary Alizzeo also noted on Wednesday that the ordinance would allow the city to set a cap to the number of mobile food trucks permitted to sell within city limits.

Councilman James Roha asked Alizzeo if national businesses such as Schwan's food or Mary Kay cosmetics fell under this ordinance. Alizzeo said they would have to have a permit, acknowledging the difficulty in enforcement. Alizzeo suggested adding an annual permit with a fee set by council for year-round businesses.

Exceptions to the permit requirement are minors who take orders and deliver newspapers, candy, cookies or items similar; any person representing an organization registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State; lemonade stands or similar businesses operated by a minor less than three days per month total; yard sales to the extent already permitted by the city; retail activities sponsored by the city or a municipal authority such as the Meadville Market Authority; or at the discretion of the city manager and events where street closures have been authorized by the city.

In a separate section, the proposed ordinance also prohibits "canning" in the city, which means no person, entity or group can solicit cash donations in the right of way without written prior approval from the city manager or his designee.

Violators of the proposed ordinance would be guilty of a summary offense and, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a $500 fine and court costs incurred by the city. Each day a violation exists constitutes a separate offense.

City Manager Andy Walker said he would work with the city to research a fee schedule and to place the ordinance on the agenda for a first reading at the Aug. 21 meeting.

Tyler Dague can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at tdague@meadvilletribune.com.

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