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Can for-profits pitch their wares at empty Ripon lots?
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RIPON – John Heida is an entrepreneur.

He’s the owner of Heida Computers located at 567 N. Wilma Ave., No. 8.

Heida, who, earlier was appointed by the Ripon City Council to the San Joaquin Council of Governments’ Citizens Advisory Committee, is hoping to look at options to supplement his income.

But in Ripon, he’s faced with several road blocks.

Heida would be required to comply with the seasonal temporary use permit rules for vendors you’ll fimnd in vacant lots, parking lots, and along side roads. In Ripon, the code, as written, applies specifically to State of California-recognized non-profit groups. Seasonal temporary use, for example, includes Christmas tree lots and pumpkin patches.

“Right now, I have no idea what I’d like to sell,” Heida said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “I’d like to have some options down the road.”

He’s considering using property on the other side of town on Doak Boulevard. Heida indicated that the land is located in a “light industrial” area.

“I’d like to use this land to make profit,” Heida said.

It’s there that Mayor Chuck Winn sees two issues regarding the code – zoning and usage outside of the non-profit groups.

According to the report put together by Ken Zuidervaart, director of planning: “The zones in which these uses are currently allowed are in all of the commercial districts and the professional office districts. Minor site plans are required for such uses, which are processed at a staff level.”

The possiblity looms that the seasonal temporary uses code could someday include all zones with the exception of residential areas.

Council also agreed to have the Planning Commission and staff take another look at the code, perhaps, involving individuals or groups alongside of the local non-profits.

Furthermore, the Ripon Police Department along with the Ripon Fire Department could now be called in to provide their input as to location and layout of the seasonal use for public safety concerns and other site-specific issues (lighting, noise, tracking of dirt and mud onto the city streets, etc.).

Council members will have another chance to discuss and possibly approve any potential amendments to the code at an upcoming meeting.