Town should do more than beat a dead horse

For the first time since their staff used Facebook to initiate a public brouhaha with Josh’s Farmers Market, Mooresville’s elected officials will have a chance to weigh in.

What they’ll weigh in on isn’t exactly clear.

Two commissioners — Lisa Qualls and Eddie Dingler — asked for a staff review of the town’s “outdoor seasonal sales” and “farmers market” ordinances to be placed on the town board agenda for this coming Monday, May 15.

Danny Wilson, the town’s planning director, told the board in an agenda briefing this morning that he will review “the difference between those two (ordinances) and what is defined in the UDO (Unified Development Ordinance) for outdoor seasonal sales versus farmers market.”

Since adopting its UDO in February 2022, the Town of Mooresville’s planning department, without incident, has issued Josh’s Farmers Market (which the town doesn’t consider a farmers market) three “outdoor seasonal sales” permits. The town has now started rejecting the market’s applications for the very same permit. It says items that the market carries — which the town has approved in the three most recent permits — are no longer allowed. As a result, the town is essentially forcing Josh’s Farmers Market, a 30-year-old local business owned by Josh Graham, to close. 

Commissioner Dingler, a small business owner himself, said he has been trying to encourage the town to reach a compromise with the market. He joined Commissioner Qualls in asking for the ordinance discussion to be placed on the agenda for Monday’s town board meeting. “Obviously you guys know I hear a lot from this,” Dingler said to other board members in the briefing this morning. “I just want to have a greater understanding, just for my own personal information, and I just want to be able to explain it.” 

Qualls said she hopes the staff presentation in a public meeting will “help kinda clear up the myth, legends and rumors …”

“There just seems to be some maybe lack of clarity in the public on what the differences are and what this means in the rules,” she said.

The lack of clarity, it’s been plainly established, is in the town’s ordinances themselves — not public perception. 

Commissioner Gary West said recently that the UDO’s wording is “vague and leaves room for interpretation.” 

“The language in the UDO needs to be improved and be more specific,” he said. “We need to look at providing specific and appropriate guidance in this document.” 

Let’s hope that is what the board’s end goal is for Monday night. Otherwise, it’s just another night of beating a dead horse. And we’re all sick and tired of that. 

Monday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. in Town Hall. The agenda item is a staff presentation only so no public comments will be allowed at that time.


One thought on “Town should do more than beat a dead horse

  1. All you guys got you head in the sand. Regulations and other BS. Open up Josh’s a honest business and serivice to the area. Follow the money on the town market. Local Gov Co has vested interest. Shame on all of you. Nit Picking at the top level. Wake the Hell Up and use some common sense. No common sense in Federal Level pray for some local.

    Why don’t you do something worth a Ding Dong stop building on 150. Wake Up Iredell Co. we go No Roads and losing one the best markets due to your head in the Sand.

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Hi! I’m Jaime

I was a newspaper reporter in Mooresville, NC for a decade and covered local government issues from 2003 to 2006.


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