The Star Lite Swap Meet can remain open but under the condition it follows requirements laid out by the city of Lakewood.
That’s according to an administrative decision issued Thursday by the city.
The decision comes three days after Star Lite owner Hank Bardon argued before Lakewood Assistant Police Chief John Unfred that the city should not have suspended his business license. Unfred was appointed to oversee the hearing by City Manager John Caulfield.
He had three options: uphold the city’s suspension, deny the suspension and allow the swap meet to stay open or impose conditions that, if met, would allow Star Lite to remain open.
Unfred chose to impose three conditions.
They include requirements to:
▪ Use a mechanical or electric counter to document daily attendance to swap meet grounds and provide a monthly attendance report to the city;
▪ Provide a traffic management plan to the city’s Public Works Department that meets specific requirements and details temporary traffic control measures for cars and pedestrians on weekends and other busy days;
▪ Schedule an inspection by West Pierce Fire and Rescue during a weekend swap meet.
The meet, which has continued to operate while the city decision was pending, can remain open as long as Bardon counts daily attendance, city spokesman Brent Champaco said. The other requirements must be done within 60 days.
After reviewing the conditions, Bardon’s attorney Steve Burnham said, “on the surface they don’t seem like a big deal.” But he wanted time to consult with Bardon before officially responding to the city.
If Bardon does not agree, he can appeal Unfred’s decision to the city hearing examiner.
If he chooses to comply, Unfred will revisit the issue at a follow-up hearing June 10 to ensure Bardon is meeting the requirements.
Lakewood suspended Bardon’s license April 7 citing a concern about public safety prompted by an April 3 incident. That’s when Lakewood police were called to the site for reports of a missing 6-year-old girl. Officers had difficulty accessing the swap meet, citing bumper-to-bumper traffic on 84th Street and an inability to park near the entrance.
They also complained that, once on site, they couldn’t quickly get into the vending area to find the person who called 911 to report the missing child.
At the Lakewood hearing Monday, Bardon argued he has attempted to work with the city to address parking and traffic concerns, but the city hasn’t always been receptive.
Assistant City Manager and Development Director David Bugher said the city and Bardon have a rocky past, but they have come together in the past to resolve issues.