Montville - The Town Council on Monday tabled an ordinance to loosen regulations on vendors, peddlers and solicitors, hoping to send the issue back to the Planning and Zoning and Economic Development commissions.
The proposed ordinance would have amended a measure originally passed in 1916 by striking a clause that prohibits vendors from operating within 1 mile of a brick-and-mortar business that sells a similar product.
An assortment of small business owners and town officials raised objections to the proposal at a 6 p.m. public hearing before the Town Council meeting.
Former Town Councilor Gary Murphy, who owns a hot dog stand and has been advocating these changes, was one of the lone supportive voices.
"I guess I'm the guy who started everything here and got everybody all riled up," he said as he took his turn at the microphone.
Murphy argued that he, like many other vendors, is still a Montville taxpayer. He said that loosening distance restrictions would have minimal effect on businesses because vendors would still need the property owner's permission to sell their wares.
Marcia Vlaun, the town planner, called it a "poorly drafted ordinance." She took issue with the fact that it was not restricted to Montville residents, and that the vendors wouldn't be limited to certain hours or products.
The chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission, Bill Pieniadz, urged the council to table the proposal. He argued that it was disadvantageous to brick-and-mortar businesses that had to pay property taxes and spend thousands of dollars on site planning.
Town Councilor Dana McFee echoed the concern for established businesses and said that Montville already has fewer regulations on vendors than surrounding towns.
Police Lt. Leonard Bunnell had a different argument against the change. "One of the unintended benefits of the distance is that it does limit congestion," he said, arguing that the bill needed more attention by the Planning and Zoning Commission. "I'm asking you from my perspective as a law enforcement official not to do this," he said.