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Fighting For Our Life Update

Posted on July 01 2017

A huge thank you for all the support we've received from the community of Lone Pine and from all of you awesome hikers! It means a whole whole lot to us, so Thank You! We are safe to operate for now...perhaps the entire season, but it's too soon to say for sure. Here's the scoop.

At the first Inyo County Board of Supervisor's (BOS) Meeting on June 6, the Board voted 5-0 for a new ordinance:

"prohibiting parking a vehicle upon a street or road for the principal purpose of selling goods or services out of the vehicle."

It looked like the ordinance was a slam dunk for Supervisor Kingsley and the group that was rallied to come and speak in favor of the ordinance. It was a heated 3+ hour meeting. Emotions were high. There was heckling, heart strings, and accusations being thrown around about taxes, already having enough gear shops in town, surviving the off season, and community service. It was more like a community lynching or a trial than a meeting.

It was obvious from the getgo that this ordinance was mainly about getting us out of town. Afterall, Kingsley came over within hours of us opening our business proclaiming, "If there's not an ordinance to get you out of here then we are going to write one. We are doing everything we can to get you out of here. We have businesses trying to stay in business here." WOW! I'm not sure how to take this any other way other than an act of protectionism which is strictly prohibited by federal and state law.    

One week later, on June 13, at the next BOS Meeting the ordinance went for its second reading as:

"prohibiting parking a vehicle upon a street or road for the principal purpose of selling goods or services out of the vehicle. (Note that subsection (D)’s parking prohibition is “except to the extent otherwise allowed by County ordinance or resolution,” recognizing that the Board may in the future consider and adopt ordinances or resolutions allowing such parking in particular cases.)"

After another 3-hr meeting, that was more like an interrogation than a full lynching, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 AGAINST the ordinance agreeing to hold a workshop on June 27 to discuss this further. County Counsel asked for more time to research what other cities and towns are doing to regulate mobile vending. Additionally, Counsel confirmed what we had already pointed out at the June 6th meeting, "The county cannot ban mobile vending on county right-of-way." This was already ruled upon by the State of California in Barajas vs Anaheim which said you cannot ban mobile vending on residential streets. Whew! We can't be completely banned. 

However, our biggest concern with the proposed ordinance now is that the BOS left the option open to "adopt ordinances or resolutions allowing such parking in particular cases". We already know how they feel about our business and thus our concern that the ordinance could/would be biased. Mary pointed out an example saying, "I like your business and your business; I don't like yours; I like yours; I don't like yours". How is that a fair and unbiased permitting system?!? It's NOT! And so with that and a few other statements put forth by the opposition, Supervisors Griffiths, Totheroh, and Pucci took pause.

During the June 13th meeting the BOS also heard again that we did our "homework". We visited Inyo County Planning, Tax Collector, etc numerous times. We asked A LOT of questions. We asked again and again. We suggested a parking spot and had it "approved" which is not required but we wanted to ensure we were legal. We needed to know that when we opened Whitney Gear, our mobile business, we would be to the letter of the law, and we are. We are permitted. We have complied with every regulation as written so it's not fair to then upon opening come after us with a vengeance doing everything possible to get us shut down. We are thrilled to have received a reprieve and are looking forward to working with the BOS to develop a fair set of regulations that allow mobile vending throughout Inyo County.   

Again, this is a huge "win" for us, even if only temporary. Thanks again for all your support!!! I'll post another update sometime after the next BOS workshop. 

Mary & Charlie

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