Flea market rules eyed for city

By Tom Joyce - tjoyce@civitasmedia.com

A discussion on possible new regulations for outdoor flea markets in Mount Airy is on the agenda for a Thursday afternoon meeting of the city board of commissioners.

Commissioner Jim Armbrister has asked that the flea market matter be addressed during the meeting that begins at 2 p.m. in the Municipal Building, which he said is coming at the urging of constituents.

Armbrister explained Tuesday that the idea is to ensure that certain health, safety and appearance standards are in place for such operations to provide “a good environment for people who come there.”

He did not mention any specific problems with existing operations in town. ‘There’s two already and there may be more” (coming in), Armbrister said of the need for potential new regulations.

Outdoor flea markets are a key business resource — for both buyers and sellers, the city’s at-large commissioner acknowledged. “People make money there and people also go to save money,” Armbrister said of the wide range of products typically offered by vendors.

But he says this begs a question: “Are they being accommodated as far as standards?”

Armbrister doesn’t believe rules now on the books in Mount Airy are sufficient to address such areas as appearance, sanitation, safety and others.

During Thursday’s discussion, he plans to seek a consensus from fellow board members to have the city planning department research the issue and come back with suggestions.

“There are different areas that need to be looked at,” Armbrister said.

Although increased standards seem to be in order to address the concerns mentioned, he wants to avoid a situation of making restrictions so tight that flea markets can’t operate.

“It’s kind of a double-edged sword.”

Other Business

Among other items during Thursday’s meeting, the city commissioners are scheduled to:

• Consider the approval of a redevelopment contract for former Spencer’s Inc. property now owned by the city government. This is coming on the heels of the board’s acceptance on July 21 of a set of options and incentives regarding sites eyed by a trio of private developers for a hotel/banquet center, a market-rate apartment project and a performing arts/business center.

• Hold a discussion on rental property inspections related to unsafe, unsanitary or other problem housing, at the request of Commissioner Steve Yokeley.

• Discuss the city’s water and sewer policy. Commissioner Jon Cawley asked that this matter be placed on the agenda.

• Consider the setting of a public hearing regarding an application for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

By Tom Joyce


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