Greene business owner leads fight to repeal flea market ordinance

File photo

George Stanley stands at his business, Greene's First and Only Legal Flea Market, at 1316 Route 202 in Greene. It is the subject of a public hearing on the repeal of a flea market ordinance planned for Feb. 11 and the question will be on the March 1 town ballot.

GREENE — A two-year-old town ordinance aimed at holding flea markets to many of the same rules as other businesses — regarding such issues as signs, safe exits and parking — may be repealed.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

George Stanley's business, Greene's First and Only Legal Flea Market, at 1316 Route 202 in Greene is the subject of a public hearing on the repeal of a flea market ordinance planned for Feb. 11, and the question will be on the March 1 town ballot.

A public hearing on the repeal is planned for Feb. 11 and the question will be on the March 1 town ballot.

The repeal effort is being led by George Stanley, the only person who has asked for a flea market license.

Stanley owns and operates a business at 1316 Route 202.

"I buy out-of-season items from the big box stores for pennies on the dollar and turn them around for a modest profit," Stanley recently told the Sun Journal. "We are not into making money. In fact, most of the time we lose money."

"It's more than just the junk man on the side of the road in Greene, Maine," Stanley said. "It's an unfinished project, like the Sistine Chapel that took seven years. Give me seven years and see where we are."

Stanley has twice applied for a license and was twice denied.

"He is really the only active flea market," Greene Town Manager Charles Noonan said.

The only reason for the denial is the number and size of signs, Noonan said.

However, Stanley has filed suit against the town.

A handwritten complaint and motions Stanley filed at Androscoggin County Superior Court accused the town of "a sicko plot to destroy me utterly as I am a stain on their 'pristine' town."

He said the town's refusal to license him has cost him "incomes, loss of business, distress, suffering, pain and aggravation."

Stanley has asked for a jury trial and a waiver of court fees.

The suit is awaiting a decision by a judge.

Meanwhile, Noonan said the town is ready to work with Stanley if the sign issue is remedied.

Most of Greene's three-page ordinance on flea markets copies the language used to govern all town businesses, he said. It includes the issue of signs, which limits flea markets to no more than two signs with a total area of six square feet.

"That applies to all businesses in town, not just to flea markets," Noonan said.

dhartill@sunjournal.com

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