Skip to comments.Boy Can Open His Hotdog Cart, Get Around Zoning
Posted on 08/28/2012 6:10:58 AM PDT by MichCapCon
The city of Holland, Mich., has reportedly granted limited permission to operate a downtown hot dog cart to Nathan Duszynski, the 13-year-old who received national attention for his efforts to open the cart to help his troubled family.
The Holland City Council voted Wednesday to allow Nathan to run his hot dog business until the end of October on the sidewalk adjacent to a downtown sporting goods store.
Reliable Sport had initially given Nathan permission to set up the stand in the store's parking lot. Minutes after Nathan opened for business on July 17, however, a city official informed him he was violating a city ordinance. After a video by the Mackinac Centers Anne Schieber helped the story go viral,[*] Nathan and his family petitioned the city for an exemption. At an Aug. 1 city council meeting, Holland Mayor Kurt Dykstra defended the ordinance as an appropriate protection from competition for area restaurants that paid special taxes.
When these events began, Nathans family faced significant challenges. Both his stepfather and mother suffer from disabilities, and they were unemployed. In the days since, their problems have mounted. Nathans stepfather, Doug Johnson, was arrested on an outstanding warrant and found to have a criminal history. Nathan and his mother, Lynette Johnson, temporarily moved into a homeless shelter, though they later left.
The citys decision to provide Nathan with temporary permission to operate his hot dog cart is a welcome development. City officials have recognized through their actions that Hollands zoning policies can have negative consequences for the economically vulnerable in this case, for a 13-year-old boy who is trying to improve life for his family. And in fairness to the citys leaders, Holland is just one of myriad American cities with similar regulations.
But Nathan is not the only would-be entrepreneur. Holland officials, who are reportedly exploring the creation of a food-cart zone, should review all of the citys zoning ordinances to find ways to reduce barriers to economic opportunity. Restrictive policies often remove the bottom rungs of the economic ladder and make it hard for the economically disadvantaged to rise.
Lessening regulatory burdens to allow entrepreneurship will not necessarily result in happy endings. Nathan and his family still face real difficulties, and these may prevent Nathan from taking advantage of his new opportunity. Nevertheless, reducing exclusionary economic laws will not just provide more chances for happy endings; it will liberate people in their pursuit of happiness in ways that bring credit to a free society.
[*] By the evening of Aug. 16, the video had received more than 100,000 online views.
My wife always wanted to go to Holland, MI for their Tulip festival. If we ever go, I will seek out Nathan’s cart.
Go ahead kid. Call it “Nathan’s Hot Dogs”. I dare you.
another business with a questionable future because of government interference.
Field trips for the Sex Education class!
Buzz Chattanooga was supposed to schlep people around the Scenic City in the backs of oversized tricycles. Christian Thor Thoreson and his partner Christina Holmes hoped the company would appeal to official hoping to boost tourism and minimize drunk driving and congestion. They jumped through a bunch of hoops to get the business off the ground.
The city ordinance limited the number of pedicab permits available, capping the number of pedicabs serving Chattanooga to just six. Each pedicab permit requires a $100 fee.
Those six pedicabs have to be outfitted with a horn, a rearview mirror, headlights, taillights and turn signal.
Pedicab drivers are required to go through an intensive licensing process by the city, including passing a test given through the Chattanooga Police Department Regulatory Bureau Transportation Inspectors office, as well as being subjected to a drug screening and a background search.
City regulations dont allow pedicabs to cruise for passengers they must remain parked and wait for customers. Strangely, even though cars often come much closer, pedicabs must stay at least 10 feet away from horse-drawn carriages. The vehicles also cant be operated in public parks.
But there was one rule so silly that they were sure they could convince the city council to make an exception:
Sec. 35-251(3) of the Chattanooga City Code states that a pedicab driver shall not operate a pedal carriage or pedicab on any bridge or in any tunnel.
The rule was designed to prevent dangerous situations at high speeds in cramped space. But Buzz mostly wanted access to the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge where the stakes are considerably lower so that they could ferry passengers to all parts of the city. No dice, said Chattanooga.
Just a couple of months ago, Buzz owners were posting happy, overly long videos celebrating their one year anniversary. But now they've changed their tune:
Asked what he'd tell another entrepreneur considering starting a business in Chattanooga, Thoreson replied, Stay the hell away.
This week, they decided to throw in the towel. http://reason.com/blog/2012/08/23/chattanooga-doesnt-trust-adults-to-peddl
People just need to realize that government is not there to help you but to help those that contribute to those in government. In most cases the laws are there to limit competition against those that are buying the politicians favor. Yet another good example are Certificates of Need (CON) that any medical facility that wants to open in most states is required to get, but guess what? Yep on the board are the hospitals already in the area so forget about it, and then people wonder why an MRI costs so much.
My wife has family in Holland. It is a lovely area. The dunes at the state park are pretty cool.
Zoning Laws are the payback given to the owners of small shops and restaurants in exchange for their campaign contributions to Democrats.
The kid would have less trouble starting a business in Communist China.
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