Pinellas News

Regulations on outdoor Sponge Docks displays amended

TARPON SPRINGS — The debate hadn’t cool much since late last month, but city commissioners decided to go ahead with amending an ordinance regarding outdoor merchandise displays at Sponge Docks businesses.

The measure, which passed 5-0, is essentially intended to reducethe amount of goods store owners may place in front of their shops.

The amended portions limit how far a display can encroach upon public sidewalks and how tall they may be.

As they did during this ordinance’s Nov. 19, concerned business owners and proponents of private property rights were back at City Hall to voice their disapproval.

The original ordinance to regulate outdoor displays of merchandise passed in September and these amendments have been under official discussion since commissioners addressed the issue at the Nov. 5 regular meeting as a miscellaneous discussion item.

Complaints primarily involved business owners who received citations questioning why other merchants aren’t being hit with similar tickets to the city overstepping its bounds by infringing on a business’s ability to sell its goods.

Some proponents of the measure stated at the Nov. 19 meeting that some of the merchandise being peddled has nothing to do with the history of the Sponge Docksand looksmore like a cluttered flea market goods. The amount of displays placed in sidewalks can force crowds to step into the streets, as well.

The passage of the amendments keeps much of the original ordinance intact.

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