Shutting Down the Business of Love

December 22, 2008 2:12:59 PM PST
Code enforcement officers were out looking for people illegally selling Valentine's Day gifts.The fine for spreading the love was not cheap.

"Which one of you is in charge of setting up here and selling?"

Fresno City Code Enforcement Officers are making the rounds with an expensive Valentine's Day surprise.

"Also what I'm going to have to do is issue a citation for 200 dollars."

Officers are looking and finding plenty of street vendors selling without permits.

Esko Siipola, City of Fresno: "A day or two leading up to the holiday you'll see them all over the place."

They are hard to miss with all the red and pink balloons, candy and flowers. They set up on street corners and empty lots, even parking lots of legitimate businesses.

"That in itself is an illegal use of that zoning and land so regardless of the permission of that business owner, that is still improper use of that zoning."

According to Officers vendors can also create a hazard, sometimes blocking sidewalks and causing traffic to slow when people pull over to buy merchandise.

"Husbands are rushing out at the last minute there will be more of them set up because the husbands will want to bring their wives home some flowers."

Vendors get to keep their merchandise.

"Even for the first time? There is no warning or something?"

But there is no warning. They must pay the $200 fine for a first violation $500 for a second and $800 the third time they're cited.

"You guys are going to have to pack it up and leave & stop selling today okay."

Requirements for getting a permit differ depending on the city and the kind of business.

The fee can be expensive, so you'll need to contact your city's code enforcement office for information.


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