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Sidewalk Sales, Outdoor Displays Need Official Blessing, Say Planners

While they're as perennial as the products displayed, outdoor displays in front of businesses have never been an allowable use under the current ordinances.

That beautiful hanging basket you get every year in front of Grasch's has never been exactly legal to sell outdoors. The weekend sidewalk sale in front of your favorite clothes store has also been illegal.

Seeking to "legitimize such sales by local vendors, including Sendik's and Grasch's," Economic Development Director Dan Ertl explained that the Plan Commission was hoping to lay some legal ground rules to make sure every business seeking to sell items in front of their storefronts were operating on the same page.

"We want to make sure that there are certain limits applied, as other businesses are also following suit, like Michaels, which has carts of materials, and it's never really been part of the ordinance," Ertl said.

The Plan Commission approved moving forward on implementing guidelines for such outdoor displays, which differ from sidewalk sales in that they are generally left outdoors for extended periods of time. The city planners agreed to put the new rules to a public hearing, which will likely take place at their next meeting on Feb. 11.

The new limitations require (among other things) that outdoor display products:

  • must be available for sale in the store on that site
  • must be located close to the store front in a "strip mall" or multi-tenant site
  • must be placed in an area designed and improved for outdoor display as approved by the Plan Commission

In addition, sidewalk sales were approved year-round with the following parameters:

  • They have to be on the sidewalk.
  • They need to be limited to a single tier of product (i.e., clothes only, or sporting goods only, depending on the store).
  • Product must be brought inside the store every night at close of business.

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