Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Regulators Take Stand on Vendor T-Shirt Salesman Gets Order to Shut Down

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Regulators Take Stand on Vendor T-Shirt Salesman Gets Order to Shut Down

Article excerpt

To its detractors, Jesse Harvell's T-shirt stand is an eyesore.

To Harvell, it's just an honest living, and he doesn't know why St. Louis County wants to end it.

"There aren't too many jobs out there," Harvell, 27, said Friday a few hours before county Public Works Director John Hoffmann issued the shutdown order. "This is my only means."

County Councilman John Shear, D-Ferguson, has pushed for the past year for tighter restrictions on enterprises such as Harvell's across the county's unincorporated areas.

"It's tantamount to somebody doing their weekly laundry and hanging it out on the street corner," Shear said.

Shear adds that Harvell's stand hurts efforts to upgrade the business district around Chambers and Halls Ferry roads in North County.

Harvell has run the stand since last summer on a carwash lot at the intersection.

He said government should leave small-scale entrepreneurs like him alone and concentrate on going after drug pushers and other criminals.

There are confusing county rules for stands such as Harvell's, whose only advertising is the clothesline full of shirts hanging between two light poles in back of his sales table.

Hoffmann said another vendor with a T-shirt stand similar to Harvell's a few blocks away - at Halls Ferry and Lucas & Hunt roads - operates legally outside a vacant carwash building.

In some commercial zoning categories, vendors unrelated to the primary business on the property are allowed merely if the property owner gives permission and the operator obtains a merchants' license and an occupancy permit.

But in areas in other business zoning categories, a would-be vendor must make his case in a public hearing and then gain approval of the county Planning Commission. The County Council has veto power over such requests. That's the category Harvell's site falls under, county officials said. …

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