City council ordinance expands art show requirements
South Lake Tahoe City Council members weighed in on a draft ordinance Tuesday regulating temporary arts and crafts shows, including issues related to juried selection and appearance of the show layout.
The city council has tackled arts and crafts shows in the past, including a vote to limit shows to four per site and a maximum of eight per summer season in 2013.
The current draft ordinance, approved by the city planning commission in June, handles operations and the type of crafts sold. The ordinance also bumps show promoters’ application deadline from October to December.
From the start, the council felt the juried selection of art was too restrictive and might pass the cost onto vendors. The initial language proposed that artists and vendors would submit a portfolio of wares sold to the promoter, who would pass it on to a jury for approval.
The jury would have been comprised of a planning commissioner, an artist and a member of the business community.
Councilwoman JoAnn Conner asked how it would be possible to select an impartial jury to select art. She added that, because vendors pay a space fee, a jury fee would be overkill.
“I want to make sure we aren’t charging them huge fees that are putting them out of business,” Conner said.
Mayor Hal Cole said if vendors are juried, there shouldn’t be a fee.
Development Services Director Shawna Brekke-Read said the show promoter would likely prescreen a lot of the vendors and would bear the cost of the jury selection.
City Manager Nancy Kerry said the current ordinance lacks a code enforcement provision and some regulations are ignored.
The ordinance specifies that vendors must sell unique or handcrafted items that aren’t mass-produced from countries like China. Kerry said the current city guidelines don’t outline how to tell vendors to leave a show.
Councilman Tom Davis disagreed, saying the current ordinance places the burden on the promoter.
“This is way overkill and too much government,” Davis said. He suggested instead tabling the proposed ordinance and having council members go out to an art show to decide for themselves if a juried guideline was necessary.
Conner agreed, saying she was coming from a potential buyer’s standpoint. She said the market should determine a vendor’s success.
“If the customer thinks it looks junky, they’re not going to buy, and the artist isn’t going to pay to come back,” Conner said.
Council members Austin Sass and Wendy David felt a juried review had its merits.
Most council members felt the regulations governing overall appearance are adequate.
The ordinance has a slew of requirements: booths need to be neat and orderly, not appear tacky to visitors, not have an excessive amount of balloons or flags and only within a vendor’s booth, electrical cords need to be covered.
Conner felt the umbrella/flag requirements are restrictive, especially since none can have any brand names.
“If I were a promoter looking at this, I would think it’s too expensive,” Conner said.
Kerry, the city manager, said such regulations have been a city standard for years, but the promoter refused to comply until they were codified.
Enforcement would be done when city staff goes out to fairs to take stock of various merchandise and vendors.
In a 3-2 vote, the council adopted a revised version that set aside the juried component and would require the promoter to sign a statement saying vendors comply with the requirements. If a vendor fails to comply, that person faces citation and the risk of not being invited back to future shows.
A revised ordinance will come back for a second reading at the July 21 city council meeting.
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