Public meeting held over kids' produce stand

August 26, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two little girls in the small East Bay town of Clayton are standing their ground after the city shut down their neighborhood produce stand.

Eleven-year-old Katie and four-year-old Sabrina Lewis sold homegrown vegetables in front of their house before the City of Clayton shut them down.

"The code here in Clayton indicates that outside sales in residential neighborhoods should not occur," said David Woltering, the Clayton community development director.

Only one neighbor complained to the city, but at Tuesday night's planning commission meeting, John Van Brusselen said it goes beyond the traffic that parks in front of his house for the vegetable stand.

"I have photos showing sprinkler pipes four feet in the air in the front yard. That's because of the vegetables they have to water. I should not have to look at that. End of season when there are no more vegetables, this is the mess I get to look at for the rest of the year," said Van Brusselen.

Katie delivered a petition of 30 signatures asking for a variance or exception to the code.

"That's the kind of thing I think we should be promoting," said Theresa Bentley, a resident.

"Can't we all just be a little more tolerant? Can't we all just kind of get along here?" said John Rosskelly, a neighbor.

"I urge you to find some way that she can do something positive. I don't think she's doing a negative thing at all," said Mike Lewis, Katie's dad.

The planning commission looked to other outside sales like lemonade stands and garage sales that supposedly violate the law.

"If you had two or three a year, that was considered infrequent and did not rise to the level of a business activity," said Laura Hoffmeister, the assistant to the city manager.

The Lewis girls were selling vegetables about 20 times a year.

There were no decisions made after the meeting, but it was agreed that it is possible to come up with a solution without altering the city code. Another hearing will be held before the commission before it makes a recommendation to city council.

Related Link:

Agenda for Tuesday's Planning Commission meeting

*The veggie stand hearing information is from page 7 to page 14.


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