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City mulls $1,400 license for flea market operators

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 11:13 a.m. CDT

McHENRY – City officials have drafted an amendment to better regulate flea markets and could vote on an annual $1,400 license fee for operators.

If passed, the code amendment would take effect in May and require flea market operators to provide proof they have applicable federal and state licenses before receiving a McHenry license to operate.

Other than zoning rules, there are currently no specific regulations governing flea markets in McHenry. The amendment was initially set for Monday's City Council agenda, but was pushed back to March. 

Since fall, the city’s Community Development Committee has been working to spell out licensing and operation rules. The committee unanimously agreed to propose the annual $1,400 license fee, which could be paid in a lump sum or in quarterly installments.

The committee initially focused on imposing daily fees on individual vendors. But flea market operators such as Eckels Flea Market and Fox River Flea Market were concerned the fees would be excessive for vendors.

A flea market, according to the city, is defined as “any business activities commonly known as but not limited to swap shops, penny markets, rummage sales, and where tangible articles are bought, sold, or exchanged by more than one vendor, not otherwise regulated in the City of McHenry Municipal Code.”

Resale and secondhand shops and garage sales would be exempt from the license.

Under the proposal, McHenry police will have “general supervision over all flea market operations and shall also have power to inspect their respective places of business.” Police, during normal business hours at the site, would have authority to inspect record books, computers, inventory directly related to the purchases and sale of articles.

“Articles which the [police or other law enforcement agency] have reasonable grounds to believe were stolen may be impounded or left with the vendor under a hold order at the discretion of any member of the police department,” it states.

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