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Brunswick vendors fighting roadside restrictions

READ MORE: Brunswick vendors fighting roadside restrictions

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Many Brunswick County farmers and fishermen remain up in arms over restrictions on roadside vendors. They feel like the county commission is sending mixed messages by cracking down on local produce stands while also telling consumers to buy local.

Selling local produce on the side of the road is a way of life for many people, but their stands are being hunted down.

"I think it's going to have a real big impact on the county, because they put a lot of people out of work," roadside vendor Randy Rhodes said.

The Brunswick County Commission voted to enforce an ordinance already on the books that cracks down on roadside vendors, which has them searching for answers.

"Basically I don't know what I'm going to do to support my family," vendor Kevin Marsh said. "Whoever's behind all this, I want them to think about what if they couldn't support their family, what if they were in my shoes?"

Rhodes said, "You can't work and support your family and stuff. You can't pay your bills or anything like that. That'd be just like one of us going up there and telling them they can't do their jobs."

The Brunswick County Department of Planning tells WWAY that there are a few options for roadside vendors. It is not against the law to sell produce on the property on which it's grown, like at a farm. Vendors can also sell their produce or goods at a farmer's market or flea market as outlined by the 496-page Unified Development Ordinance, but the sellers say they need to be on the road where their customers are; the same place they've been operating for years without a problem.

"We're out here making an honest living," Marsh said. "It ain't like we're out here trying to hustle anybody out of their money or anything like that. They know what they get before they buy it."

One vendor, Jim Simpson, is circulating a petition across Brunswick County against the regulations. He says he already has more than 1,500 signatures. He and plans to present it to the county commission soon.

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