A Final Fruit Fight Item: Turning The Other Cheek On Montgomery's Roadside Stands
Just in time for the Labor Day roadside rush, Maryland's State Highway Administration reached an agreement Thursday with Montgomery County activist Robin Ficker over his son's disputed fruit and vegetable stand.
Ed Harris, counsel to the highway administration, said the state decided to "turn the other cheek" by allowing Ficker and the operator of another stand to stay open until November in exchange for promises that they would not use state right of way again in the future.
"As long as it's not blatantly unsafe, we were willing to do that as long as this was the end of it," Harris said. Coming to an agreement, he added, also made sense because "we're trying not to unnecessarily utilize judicial resources."
Ficker said the state agreed to take down imposing "No Trespassing" signs it put up along River Road where his son Rob had operated without problem for years. He contends that his son's tent and folding table do not violate state law. He plans to argue that point at a hearing for a temporary injunction he expects will be held in November, even though the season will have wrapped up by then. Ficker has also said he will push to have the law changed in time for next year.
Harris said a proliferation of stands would prompt additional safety concerns.
"Everyone would love a free place to operate a business," Harris said. "If there are two people doing this in Montgomery, that's one thing. If 500 are doing it, it becomes much less safe."
September 4, 2009; 6:00 PM ET
Categories: Michael Laris , Montgomery County
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