AVON — A Hatteras Island man wants Dare County to change a 27-year-old ordinance that prohibits selling seafood from a truck.
Mark Rawl of Avon wants to sell fresh fish from a truck and trailer, a practice that Dare County has banned since 1985. Other counties, including Craven and Currituck, allow such sales.
"It's been done all around, and it's being done safely," Rawl said. "I would not sell anything that has come over the Bonner Bridge. That's how fresh it is."
County commissioners have scheduled a public hearing for Jan. 22 on a change that would cover only unincorporated areas of Dare County. Each town could make its own rules.
If passed, the county ordinance along with Board of Health rules would have safety limitations, including: If passed, the county ordinance along with Board of Health rules would include the following safety limitations:
— A temporary seafood sales operation would have to be in a commercial area, have sufficient parking and restrooms, and be removed each day.
— Sales could not be conducted along private or public rights of way.
— Fish would have to be kept in clean, nonabsorbent containers at a temperature lower than 41 degrees.
— Each type of fish would have to be separated into a different container.
— Fish could not be cleaned or cooked at the sales site.
The ordinance would cover only unincorporated parts of Dare County. Each town would make its own rules.
More than 30 business and property owners and commercial fishermen have signed a petition supporting Rawl. His request has struck a chord with some locals, still angry over beach-driving limitations imposed less than a year ago.
"In a time when so many restrictions are making people question why they should come here rather than elsewhere, it is important to show visitors why this place is so special," Avon resident Wendi Palmer wrote to county officials.
Some store owners who sell seafood oppose the changes. They cite their costs of maintaining buildings and note that they're subject to a long list of regulations.
How can seafood be handled from a windy, dusty parking lot?" Beth Bailey, owner of a seafood market on Hatteras Island, asked in an email to the county.
Rawl also wants the county to change rules requiring a $350 fee plus future county expenses related to changing the ordinance and advertising for a public hearing.