Proposed changes to a Springfield, MO, zoning ordinance would allow flea markets to locate in areas of the city zoned for general retail, as long as the market operates entirely indoors. Secondhand stores, meanwhile, will be permitted anywhere other retail sales businesses are allowed, reports News-Leader.com.
According to the city’s current zoning ordinance, flea markets are prohibited from operating in general retail districts, and are limited to various commercial districts and areas downtown or on Commercial Street. Flea markets that also operate outdoors are permitted in industrial districts, as well.
With the increasing popularity of the stores and the growing number of mainstream retail stores selling vintage or secondhand merchandise, the distinction between retailers who sell new merchandise and those that sell used items no longer makes sense, planning director Ralph Rognstad, said. Some people have a mix of merchandise, and if you’re selling antiques, you’re selling secondhand goods, he added.
According to News-Leader.com, Rognstad said the change was prompted by requests from prospective business owners. Skip Liebman, a commercial realtor with CJR Commercial Group, said he recently talked with city staff on behalf of a client who was interested in opening a flea market on South Campbell Avenue. Flea markets have changed a lot over the last few years, Liebman pointed out. “They’re not just places where people sell junk and park stuff on the outside of the building…The economy’s changed, the perception of flea markets has changed, and the inventory has changed…It’s become more of a mainstream retail business.”
A public hearing on the bill was held at last Monday’s council meeting and no one raised an objection, News-Leader.com reports. A vote could come May 6.