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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Girl Scouts Sue City|to Keep Cookie Stand

CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) - The City of Hazelwood has declared war on two Girl Scouts' "home business" of selling Girl Scout cookies from a stand in their driveway, so the girls' mom returned fire, and sued the city.

Carolyn Mills says her daughters Caitlyn, 16, and Abigail, 14, have sold Girl Scout cookies from a homemade stand from their driveway for 6 years.

But in March, Hazelwood officials slapped the cookie moguls with a "Courtesy Infraction Notice," saying that their cookie stand violated the city's Home Occupations Code.

Mills said she did not believe the cookie stand was subject to the Home Occupations Code, but she submitted an application for a license to sell Girl Scout cookies anyway.

Application denied.

Mills says her girls have sold the cookies from their driveway stand since 2005, that they do it only for "a few weeks each year in connection with the annual Girl Scout cookie sale," and that they do it only for two or three hours each evening, after school and before sundown.

And, she points out, the girls don't even keep the money from the cookies. They turn it over to the Girl Scouts.

It's a neighborhood cookie stand, for Pete's sake, and it has not spurred "any unusual increase in traffic."

The girls and their mom want a judge to declare that their temporary cookie stand is not a home occupation that falls within Hazelwood's code.

"The definition of 'Home Operation' as stated in Hazelwood City Code, Section 405.040, does not fairly encompass children setting up a cookie or lemonade stand in front of their home, especially when the children do not stand to make a profit from their sales," the Millses say.

But if the judge finds that the cookie stand does indeed fall within Hazelwood's Home Operation Code, they ask the judge to find that the city's police power does no extend to depriving them of their liberty and property - presumably, the cookies and the folding table - without due process.

"The defendant's cookie stand prohibition does not serve any legitimate government interest and is without any rational basis related to public health, safety, and welfare," the complaint states.

The Mills are represented by in St. Louis County Court by David Roland with the Freedom Center of Missouri, of St. Louis.

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