HANFORD — Walking down Eighth Street, you might notice plenty of merchandise sitting outside the thrift stores between Douty and Harris street, but that may change very soon.
Some businesses in the area received notices from the city to move the merchandise back indoors.
“I know business is going to go down a little bit,” said Patricia Cardoza, an employee at Rustic Angel Antiques on Eighth Street.
Cardoza said she received the notice Thursday and was surprised to see she only had one day to find a place for the items inside the store — items she normally placed outside.
The letter said that new city zoning ordinances adopted in June affect the downtown commercial area where the businesses sit.
The ordinances, the letter said, were adopted to “preserve, protect and promote the public health, safety, peace, comfort, convenience, prosperity and general welfare of the citizens of Hanford.”
More specifically, the letter said the ordinances effected how businesses displayed items in the front of the business. Items will only be permitted within an area surrounded by a solid wall or fence, or within a completely enclosed, permanently fixed structure.
“Basically, all outdoor items in front of the building at your business are no longer permitted and must be located inside the building,” the letter concluded. “You have one day to come to compliance.”
Cardoza said she places the items on the sidewalk because there is very little room inside the small store. She also places them outside to show potential customers that the store is open and ready for business.
“When the stuff is out there, people can see it and they come,” Cardoza said, adding that because the location is off to the corner of the street, she believes people won’t notice the business anymore.
Cardoza spent Thursday afternoon trying to move items around in the already cramped store to make room for everything she had for sale outside.
“I’m going to have to take some of this stuff home,” Cardoza said. “I’m going to fill my truck up and take it. There’s no other place.”
Cardoza said she was told she couldn’t even have her sidewalk sign up that tells people the store is open. She said she had seen other businesses with signs on the sidewalk and she wanted the ordinance to be fair to every business.
Thomas Webb, a building official for the city of Hanford, clarified Friday by saying no downtown businesses were allowed to display merchandise outside on the sidewalk. Meaning, anything that is for sale must be inside the stores.
In the case of the sidewalk business signs, Webb said downtown businesses can have up to 10-square feet of signage, and must maintain four feet of distance around each sign for people to walk.
“It’s definitely a safety issue,” Webb said. “We’re trying to let people walk where they’re supposed to.”
Webb said several downtown stores were given notices when the ordinance was first enacted in June. The reason for giving the one-day compliance notices is because they are the stores' second courtesy notices, he said.
If the stores didn’t comply be Friday, they were cited for the violation.
Webb said these were the first set of secondary notices, and added the city would continue to look for violations in the downtown area.
An employee of Kings Christian Thrift Store, which also received a notice and sits next to Rustic Angels with many items on display in front of the store, said she had no comment on the situation.