VERNON — The Vernon City Council members discussed creating a yard sale ordinance to keep vendors off city property when they met Monday in a workshop at city hall.
Councilman Joey Brock City Clerk Dian Hendrix what could be done about the constant yard sales on city property.
“I’ve been checking into yard sale ordinances, and some cities charge up to $75 for a permit to hold a yard sale,” Hendrix said. She noted that in Dotha, Ala., residents are required to get permits for yard sales and are allowed three yard sales a year at no charge.
“After the fourth yard sale, though, you have to pay,” she said.
“I wouldn’t want to do anything to infringe upon people’s private property,” Councilman Tray Hawkins said. “Goodness knows the government already does that enough.”
Mayor Michelle Cook agreed. “We only want to keep people from setting up on city property.”
The council members agreed to look into having an ordinance drawn up prohibiting yard sales on city property. Once the ordinance is in effect, the city can contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office for help in enforcing it, Hendrix said.
“Sheriff (Bobby) Haddock has been really good to us,” Hawkins said. “When we passed our curfew, we took a copy of the ordinance to him and he made sure there was a copy in all the cars.”
Restaurant owner Moses Hernandez asked the council for a letter concerning his plans to rebuild his business, Somsri’s International Restaurant. The construction is not slated to begin until May 2014, but Hernandez is beginning the process with the county zoning and planning department and needed a letter from the city for County Senior Planner Michael DeRuntz.
The restaurant will need a variance from the county setback requirements due to the area that will be left once the widening of Highway 79 is completed by the state Department of Transportation, Hernandez said.
“We won’t have any parking in front, but it will all have to be on the side,” he said.
The new restaurant will seat 72 customers, but Hernandez said he hopes that number will increase to 80 once the construction is completed.
The council agreed to sign the letter. “If we need to vote on this, you can poll the council by phone,” Hawkins said to Hendrix. Hernandez said he needed the letter for DeRuntz by Wednesday.
In other business, Hendrix told the council that no attorneys had applied for the position of city attorney. “I spoke to the League of Cities, and they said they would not be able to help us with ongoing litigation,” she said.
The WIC office has moved from the Vernon Library to City Hall, Hendrix reported.
“Now all we need to do is get a sign up for them on the door,” she said. “They are happy, and they say this is the most room they have ever had.”
Hendrix said the council should thank Washington County employees for helping to move the WIC office.
Fire Chief Tim Barnes also reported that the fire department is planning to hold a Catfish Round-Up this year instead of a turkey shoot to raise funds for the department.
“We’ve about done the turkey shoot to death, so we want to try something new this year,” he said. The catfish roundup is a fishing tournament that takes place overnight, and contestants pay a boat fee, then the ones who catch the biggest fish get prizes.
“They had one over in Caryville this weekend and it was really successful,” Barnes said.
The Vernon Catfish Round-Up will be held Aug. 30. For more information, contact Barnes at 703-9801.