The town of Oswegatchies failure to enact a local law limiting the duration a permit is in effect for out-of-area vendors to do business in the town is troubling.
At the heart of the issue is a Rochester-area dealerships sporadic appearance in the town to sell cars for 10 days before they leave the area. The towns permanent car dealerships are obviously distressed because they are losing customers to a business that does not pay taxes here, does not provide follow-up service for its customers, and does not support community groups.
The town obviously could not single this business out in crafting its law. It could, however, write a law that limits the duration of a business permit for any transient business that wants to set up temporarily in the town.
When we researched the issue last fall, we learned that the city of Watertown has such an ordinance. It limits the duration of a permit to three days. If a transient business wants to operate beyond that time frame, it must apply for another permit.
If a transient business cannot set up shop and operate as it wishes within that time frame, it must seek a location elsewhere.
We live in a free-market economy, and there is little a town could or should do to keep that free market from operating as it should.
That being said, townships also have to keep the interests of their permanent residents and businesses in mind, and protect those interests to the fullest extent possible.
Town officials should revisit this issue and do whatever they can to protect the interests of businesses within the town so that they are not forced to close shop or move elsewhere.