Tuesday, November 27, 2007

City Council Eyes Sidewalk Vending Rules

The Tacoma City Council's Economic Development Committee will review proposed changes to Tacoma's sidewalk vending ordinance at their meeting this afternoon.

The BIA has worked with City staff to generate a number of changes, including:
  • Reducing the number of businesses and/or property owners who must grant permission for vendors to operate;
  • Simplifying and clarifying design standards for sidewalk vending units;
  • Allowing vending from more than one location;
  • Allowing vendors more opportunity to "cluster" their units;
  • Loosening restrictions on height and prescribed type of vending unit;
  • Adding a 30-day notice requirement for removal of permission by abutting property owners;
  • Maintaining the $500,000 insurance requirement--most other jurisdictions require $1 million or more.

While those involved in the proposal believe that these changes will make it easier for vendors to operate, they do not constitute any "magic bullet" for sidewalk selling. The insurance requirement still poses a barrier for fledgling vendor, and significant issues still remain with requirements placed on food vendors by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. City officials have asked the BIA to consider service as the master vendor, holding licenses for all sidewalk sellers in downtown.

Ultimately, the potential volume of customers on downtown sidewalks will drive the deployment of vendors--"more feet on the street," the focus of so much that the BIA does. The tweaks set out for review today will help lower the cost for those deployments.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work Paul.

    Tacoma is going to thrive like other cities when it finally allows a greater intensity of uses in small area like Pike Place Market has.

    6th Avenue is thriving because so many things are close together.