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BBQ brouhaha: Street vendor’s permits questioned

The owner-operator of a local barbecue restaurant appealed to the Lamar County commission to look into its permitting process after issues with a street barbecue vendor who claims to be cooking for a local church. Angie Wellbrook of Mama’s Kitchen complained about Ray Holloway of Ray Ray’s BBQ who sells his product on the street. ‘You have probably seen the same person selling barbecue. He used to set up at Rose’s without a business license. We went to the city about that. Then he moved to the county. The county gave him a permit to sell three times a year but he’s done it more than three times,’ Wellbrook alleged. She said Holloway sets up on Yatesville Road and at the former Davis-Cooper Ford location. She said she called a deputy to the scene at the Davis-Cooper property and the deputy told her Holloway was on private property and she could be charged with criminal trespass. ’He is setting up as a nonprofit. He should have a permit. We have never seen his permit. He has no health inspections. He pays no taxes. I have expressed my concerned to commissioner (Ryran) Traylor and Miss (Anita) Buice,’ Wellbrook continued. She said Clete Simmons, who leases the Davis-Cooper property for a diesel business, allowed Holloway to set up there. She also said she met with property owner Dean Davis who told her Holloway was an insurance liability for him and he had not given Simmons permission to sublet his property. ’I think there needs to be some kind of change in the permit process. He is taking business from every restaurant in town. He says he is doing it for a church but there is no way to know if he is giving the money to a church. He set up last Saturday, the first day of deer season, and our business was down 20 percent. He generates no sales tax so I don’t see what the county getting out of it,’ she argued. Buice, the county zoning administrator, said Holloway has a business license but there are no restrictions attached. ‘Business licenses are a revenue generator only. The deacon board at the church sent a letter which is attached to Holloway’s business license. They say they are getting revenue. Holloway uses the church’s tax exempt number. It is a small church with only eight members. Our code does not require him to have permission from Mr. Davis,’ Buice explained. She said the county could start issuing such operations a transient permit or peddler’s permit. ‘I don’t know the last time the county issued one of those. Here are the questions. Is he a legit 501C3? Is the money actually going to the church? Are we going to limit all charities to three or four times per year for fundraisers,’ Buice asked. ’People don’t need to fund raise week after week after week. If they do, they should be on their own property,’ noted Wellbrook, who says she supports many local charities through her business and personally. The commission was sympathetic toward Wellbrook and her situation and instructed Buice to see how other counties handle similar situations. ’We may need to alter the code,’ chairman Charles Glass concluded.

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