Real Estate & Property Law

Calif. Town Shuts Down 11-Year-Old's Organic Veggie Stand

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For about two years, Katie Lewis, now 11, has sold organic watermelons, zucchini and other homegrown produce at a roadside stand in Clayton, Calif., bringing in perhaps $20 a week to put in her college fund.

But now the long arm of the law has caught up with her, reports ABC News. Municipal officials have shut down the stand, saying that it violates zoning rules that prohibit commercial activities in a residential area. It also violates health regulations that say food can’t be sold without a permit, explains Mayor Gregory Manning.

Two residents complained, he says, and “I find that for every person who calls you or writes a letter, there are 100 that feel the same.”

Opinion is divided about the municipality’s no-exceptions enforcement, according to the network. Some feel a rule is a rule. But others, including the girl’s father, Mike Lewis, wonder why Clayton officials can’t find a way to make an exception. (Officials say the family is welcome to make a formal application for a zoning variance.)

The veggie stand is much like the lemonade stand that many children traditionally have operated at some point in their lives, Mike Lewis says.

“But Manning said those, too, are illegal in Clayton, though officials typically don’t pay much attention because they don’t last more than a day or two,” ABC reports.

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