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After a 3-2 vote by the City Council, the cottage food industry will not live on in Palm Coast.
Palm Coast canned the concept of home-based food businesses Tuesday night when officials formally voted not to allow the cottage food industry to begin in town.
The City Council, with a 3-2 vote, elected not to amend the Unified Land Development Code. City Councilmen Bill Lewis and Bill McGuire, as well as Mayor Jon Netts, all voted against the proposal.
The main concern for city officials has been food safety. In May, city staff recommended that the City Council deny the proposed changes to the city’s code. The Planning and Land Development Regulation Board, however, has twice approved the amendment, as long as it is “subject to compliance with city home occupation requirements.”
Palm Coast residents Rick de Yampert and Cheryl Sheppard have led the charge in trying to convince the City Council to amend the city’s code.
“At some point, government has to put faith in citizens and the law,” Sheppard said Tuesday night.
Lewis, who said the city is well aware of underground business activity taking place, wasn’t buying Sheppard’s argument, though.
“We’re giving up to a remote government agency somewhere in who knows where,” Lewis said. “Do I trust Tallahassee? No. ... In my lifetime, I’ve dealt with the remote government’s promises. ... I do trust my code enforcement people, though.”
City Councilmen Jason DeLorenzo and Frank Meeker have been supportive of allowing home-based food businesses since the discussions began earlier this year. They were officially in the minority Tuesday night.
DeLorenzo said cottage food businesses would create a stepping stone to filling vacant storefronts, something he said the city “desperately needs.”
“Entrepreneurship is part of the fabric of America,” DeLorenzo said.
Regarding the legal liability of the city, Meeker said he doesn’t think there is any, adding: “I don’t think you can sue the king. I think there is sovereign immunity on anything of this type.”
Netts, who was the third and deciding “no” vote, agreed that he doesn’t think the city has legal liability.
“It’s the perception that concerns me,” Netts said.
In a follow-up interview, de Yampert said Netts and Lewis “voted their fears.”
“Cheryl and I of course are disappointed by the council’s decision,” he said. “Given that the state has thoroughly addressed food safety issues, it’s grossly inequitable for the city to allow some home businesses that make products for retail sale, and then not allow baked goods.”
Email Andrew O’Brien at email@example.com.
Currently 1 Response
- I am very disappointed with the 3 council members who voted against the Cottage Food Industry of which the State of Florida approved. Those three obviously don't understand or did not actually read the legislation. This also tells us that the City Council seem to only want Big Business in the City of Palm Coast. The State of Florida has very strict guidelines regarding the Cottage Food Industry and requires anyone in the food industry be certified in food safety and safe food handling. Why would they jeopordize their livlihoods and reputations over food safety? Besides that, as a Cottage Food producer, the State regulations indicate that CF operators cannot make any more than $15,000.00 per year. I do not see how a part time earnings would generate so much residential traffic in any neighborhood. There are more traffic issues with garage sales every weekend in many neighborhoods! Those who are considering the CFI option would not be opening a retail shop in their homes, but rather take orders, package and deliver to the client or package and arrange pick up. They can also prepare and sell at the local flea and farmers markets.
It would be great for small businesses to fill those hundreds of empty storefronts, if the City didn't charge so much in impact fees and taxes. Where's the incentive for the small retail business??
I am sure Cheryl Shepherd will agree with this statement and I support her decision to run for City Council!
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