A proposal to regulate the roadside sale of everything from crabs to velvet Elvises in Anne Arundel County dominated last night's County Council meeting.
The council was expected to amend the proposal, which would bar roadside vendors from residential areas and require them to obtain a permit from the county, after more than 90 minutes of testimony raised concerns about potential loopholes and other problems.
County Councilman John Klocko, a Crofton Republican, expressed concerns that the bill would ban roadside vendors entirely in southern Anne Arundel, which has little commercial zoning. He said he was upset that the bill could prevent a Ruritan Club from selling hot dogs and hamburgers on weekends to raise money for charity.
Mr. Klocko also suggested the proposed law includes a loophole that would allow the sale of seafood from any roadside property that also abuts the water.
Victor Sulin, county assistant director of planning and code enforcement, agreed that such a loophole could exist. He said the bill deliberately exempts the sale of produce on the site where it is grown.
That exemption also could apply to waterfront property and the sale of seafood, he said.
Several vendors who sell crabs and flowers testified against the bill.
Anthony Fernandez, president of the Vendors Assocation of Maryland, which he said represents 122 vendors statewide, complained primarily about a provision that would restrict roadside sales to commercial areas.
"I'm aggravated because this is a constitutional right of everyone to earn a living . . . ," he said.
The Anne Arundel County Licensed Beverage Association, which represents several seafood restaurants, and other business groups supported the measure. They said roadside vendors should obtain licenses, obey zoning laws, and provide parking as other businesses do.
Supporters also said all roadside vendors pose traffic hazards because they are not required to have off-street parking. Seafood vendors pose health hazards, they said, since sale of live crabs is not regulated by health laws.
The council also was expected to vote on a proposed spending plan for $4.2 million in federal housing aid. The plan was presented by Arundel Community Development Services Inc., a nonprofit agency.