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City of Wewa considers ordinance curbing flea markets, yard sales in parks

The City of Wewahitchka held the first reading of a proposed ordinance that would prohibit flea markets or yard sales from being set up on park property without prior approval from the city.

At their Aug. 31 meeting, the Wewahitchka city commissioners unanimously voted to approve the ordinance’s first reading and advertisement.

City Clerk Rachel Jackson read from the proposed ordinance, stating “Ordinance number 2023-1225L, an ordinance of the city of Wewahitchka Florida, (would prohibit) conducting yard sales and flea markets on public park property, providing for definitions, providing for exemptions, providing for penalties, and providing for an effective date.”

Their decision followed several minutes of discussion at the commissioners’ July 27 meeting, where among discussing the need for a potential ordinance, city commissioners unanimously voted to adopt signage indicating that flea markets could not be set up at city parks without prior approval by the city.

The issue was first raised by Commissioner Charlie Pettis, who had noticed that a yard sale and flea market was regularly being set up in city parks without prior approval from the city.

“I want to talk about the flea markets at the park,” he said. “Do we really want that going on, the yard sales?”

Under the proposed ordinance, law enforcement personnel would be able to have flea markets or yard sales set up in violation of the ordinance removed from park property.

The ordinance would only apply to public city park property.

Certain exceptions would be allowed under the ordinance for special events, though prior approval of the board of city commissioners would be necessary.

“We need to make certain provisions though for groups like the historical society, the women’s club,” said Jackson on July 27. “… We would need a way for them to come before the board and request permission.”

A second reading of the proposed ordinance will be held at the city’s September meeting, at which time the commissioners will be able to vote on whether or not to pass the new legislation.

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper NonDoc.com during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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