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No pedals

Postby benny » Wed Apr 13, 2005 10:29 am ... Cmpc.shtml

Proprietor has problems peddling pedal-less mopeds

MPC moves to change quirky law that forbids the sale of mopeds without pedals in certain zones.

By Scott M. Larson

Pedals are for bikes, these days.

But try to tell that to the law.

It seems if you are trying to sell a moped or scooter on Broughton Street it must have pedals.

Moped Fred found that out the hard way after filling a store with pedal-less mopeds.

"I opened, and they shut me down," said Fred Foley, who recently tried to open Moped Fred's at 216 W. Broughton St. On Tuesday, Moped Fred and his business partner, Kelli Weis, asked the Metropolitan Planning Commission to change the law.

The problem is that Moped Fred's, as the store is named, sits in a land-use zone that does not allow sales of mopeds without pedals. Other stores in town can sell mopeds without pedals with no problem.

It used to be that mopeds were started by pedaling to fire the engine and possibly help on steep stretches of road. But newer mopeds have electric starters with automatic transmissions.

"It's not unusual (in Savannah) to have a definition that needs modernizing," said Harold Yellin, Moped Fred's attorney.

So they took that first step toward modernizing the law Tuesday after the MPC approved changing the zoning ordinance to allow pedal-less scooters.

Board members were perplexed by the old law.

"We have a restraint of trade in this city on what people can and cannot sell?" asked board member Jerry Konter during the MPC's pre-meeting.

Savannah is playing catch-up with the legal movement to rid mopeds of their pedals. The state changed its legal definition in May. The MPC's move Tuesday just mimic's the state law.

Now the issue goes to the Savannah City Council for final approval, but it will take at least a month to get on the agenda because the matter has to be publicized.

All the while, Moped Fred's store on Broughton will be little more than a showroom for mopeds, scooters and "extreme" motorized skateboards.

His store would have been the third to open in Savannah in response to the recent mopeds craze.

"It's sad because they are going to miss the Christmas season," Yellin said.

On the plus side, a sign on the store's window says you can call Moped Fred at 604-0555 to order a moped -- at another business Foley runs.
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