Montville peddler bylaw may be relaxed
The Montville Town Council has voted to study relaxing a peddler’s ordinance that some members say will boost business, while one councilor called it a favor to a fellow member.
The council voted Monday to hold a public hearing next month on possibly amending the ordinance, which would permit peddlers to set up closer to restaurants that sell similar products. Currently, such peddlers are not permitted within a mile of an established business.
The Economic Development Commission has endorsed studying the idea, said Councilor Chuck Longton, the council’s liaison to the commission. Longton called the current ordinance one of the most restrictive in Connecticut.
Councilor Dana McFee said the council is studying the matter chiefly to benefit Gary Murphy, who had been a councilor up until Tuesday. Last year, Murphy applied for a license to sell hot dogs along Route 32, but his application was rejected by the Montville Police Department. Murphy has not reapplied for the license, Lt. Leonard Bunnell said Friday.
Murphy said that he disagreed with the department’s decision because he had permission from the landlord to set up there.
“It’s wrong to tell a landlord what he can do with his land,” he said. “The only reason that I didn’t get that permit was that I didn’t have a roof over my head.”
Councilor Rosetta Jones, who is the panel’s liaison to the Planning and Zoning Commission, called for the ordinance to be reviewed by the commission. That appeal failed in a 4-3 vote, with Murphy voting against and McFee telling Murphy that he should have recused himself from voting.
“As councilors, we should be held to a higher standard,” McFee said.
Murphy selling at the spot he planned to set up would hurt hot dog sales at Chucky’s Mobil, a Route 32 gas station, McFee said. The station’s owner pays much more in taxes than any peddler would, he said. He called for keeping some kind of minimum distance requirement.
“It’s not fair to that business,” McFee said.
Chucky’s began selling hot dogs after Murphy applied for his license, he and Longton said.
Two other vendors are being blocked from setting up in Montville because of the ordinance, Council Chairperson Candy Buebendorf said.
Murphy announced his resignation from the council at Monday’s meeting, citing health issues and time constraints. Former mayor Joseph Jaskiewicz, a fellow Democrat, was picked to finish Murphy’s term, which ends in November.
All seven members of the council, along with Mayor Ron McDaniel, stood and applauded Murphy following the announcement and verbally thanked him for his efforts, which included chairmanship of the council’s Finance Committee.