Saturday , 26 May 2018

Council Says Back to the Drawing Board on the Vehicles for Hire Ordinance

McKinney Police Chief Doug Kowalski presented a revised “Vehicles for Hire” ordinance during the city council work session Tuesday afternoon. The revision specifically added regulations that would govern carriage and pedicab operators. Chief Kowalski explained that the addition to the current ordinance that regulates taxis and limo operators does not provide any regulations for carriage operators.

Kowalski further explained that although the city currently has an excellent carriage operator in downtown McKinney (Shannon Cole of Happy Trails), if new companies set up business within the city limits, there should be an ordinance in place that protects and preserves the welfare of citizens and visitors to the city. 

After much discussion, Council members felt that the revised ordinance was too cumbersome, included too much regulatory detail and in some cases, asked for information, such as the operators financial statements, that was too invasive. Council requested that the McKinney Police Department rework the ordinance and present it to them at a future work session for further discussion. 

Cole said she was relieved by the decision. The proposed regulations, according to Cole, would have been costly and would have dramatically affected her ability to operate her business. 

In other business during the regular meeting, Council heard from a multitude of citizens and supporters of the Dawgs N Hawgs private club, located at 310 E. Louisiana St, who requested the Council consider extending the club’s Special Use Permit (SUP). City staff had recommended that the SUP be pulled due to noncompliance with the city’s ordinance.

Council had granted the club a six-month probationary period to comply with the city’s ordinance that requires the holder of a SUP to comply with the section that states, “not less than 35 percent of the gross receipts of such establishment shall be derived from the sale of food consumed on the premises.”  Dawgs N Hawgs had, in the past few months, shown an increase in food sales to approximately 25 percent of their gross sales. 

Individuals involved with the business cited the economy as an issue saying it has been difficult to improve their food sales because people will spend money for entertainment and have a couple of beers, but won’t spend money on extra food. Dawgs N Hawgs, which has memberships of both bikers and non-bikers, opened in June of 2010.

The current city ordinance allows for a six month probationary period and then requires Council to make a decision. City attorney Mark Houser said that Council could opt to amend the ordinance, which has been on the books since 1982. 

Councilman Ricchi (Dist. 4) said he saw substantial progress in the data supporting increased food sales and stated that he would be open to extending another probationary period for six more months to give Dawgs N Hawgs a chance to more forward. 

“Nobody wants to put a business out of business,” Councilman Don Day (Dist. 1) said. “I’m in favor of extending probationary period, but if they don’t make it, that’s it.”  

Council unanimously voted to defer the decision to the May 1 meeting. At that May 1 meeting a regular agenda item would also address amending the current ordinance with regard to the probationary period.

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