ROCKINGHAM — The City Council on Tuesday approved two code amendments that will “better streamline the licensing process for peddlers and itinerant merchants.”
One of those amendments extends the licensing period from 90 days to 120 days.
However, with that time extension comes an increase in the licensing fee from $50 to $75.
An itinerant merchant is defined in city code as one who “engages in a temporary business of selling goods within the city and who … uses any building, structure, vehicle, or any place within the city.”
A peddler is defined as someone, not an itinerant merchant, who:
- Travels from place to place by any means carrying goods for sale, or making sales, or making deliveries; or
- Without traveling from place to place, sells or offers goods for sale from any public place within the city.
Assistant City Manager John Massey said when the code was set up 20 years ago, the city was not getting many license requests — but there are “a lot more now.”
All license requests are handled by the city clerk.
The other amendment deletes a requirement for those handling food to include a statement from a physician “certifying the applicant to be free of contagious or communicable disease.”
“That’s redundant,” Massey said. “The Health Department is regulating the ones handling foodstuffs, the city doesn’t need to be involved in that.”
According to Massey, food trucks make up the majority of applicants, adding that there aren’t a lot of individuals selling furniture and tools like in years past. City Manager Monty Crump said online shopping has “taken care of all that stuff.”
Mayor John Hutchinson said that food trucks are “more popular than they’ve ever been,” and the amendments make things easier for the operators.
The number and frequency of food trucks has increased in recent years, with the city outfitting the former Food King parking lot with outlets so vendors won’t have to use generators.
The amendments came just days before Norton Farms hosted its first food truck event, which is scheduled to run every Thursday-Saturday in September and October.
The events, which start Sept. 14, will feature multiple food trucks — including Burger Bros, Britton’s Barbecue and Ida Mae’s Kitchen — as well as live music. Featured artists this week are Pinehurst’s Clark Bennett on Thursday and local band Ramblers Run on Friday.
Hutchinson and Councilwoman Denise Sullivan praised Norton’s for trying to bring something different to the city and encouraged the public to support it.
The council also appointed Sarah Ferguson and Sharon Hutchinson to the Richmond County Public Library Board.