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Mayor Vincent C. Gray Proposes Updating Vending Regulations

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mayor Vincent C. Gray Proposes Updating Vending Regulations

The proposal updates 30-year-old regulations, encourages entrepreneurship, ensures more consumer choice and creates new opportunities for small businesses and jobs.

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced proposed new regulations that update the 30-year-old rules governing street vending – including food trucks – in the District of Columbia. The proposed regulations, issued by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), would open up additional locations for sidewalk vending, reflect new design standards for vending carts and update a rule originally designed for ice-cream trucks that currently exposes some of the newer food trucks that operate in the District to potential citations.

“Street vending, food trucks and farmers’ markets are important components in increasing the District’s quality of life for residents, workers and visitors, and my new regulations are designed to strike a careful balance between encouraging business innovation and respecting our laws as well as brick-and-mortar businesses that have long played according to the rules,” said Mayor Gray. “These proposed regulations eliminate outdated requirements, make it easier for the smallest of entrepreneurs to set up a business here and expand the food options available to consumers.”

Among other improvements, the new regulations would:

  • Update the outdated “ice-cream-truck rule” that has led to food trucks being cited and fined for having no customers in line even though they were obeying other laws:
    • Trucks preparing and selling food would have to park in a legal spot, pay the meter, and can remain there for as long as allowed by the meter or posted parking rules.
    • Trucks selling ice cream and desserts would have to park in a legal spot, pay the meter, and can remain there for as long as they have a line of waiting customers or for no more than 10 minutes when customers are not waiting.
  • Allow the permitting of new sidewalk vending locations throughout the District while grandfathering in existing, long-time vendors at their current locations.
  • Allow the creation of new Vending Development Zones, which would allow local communities to design plans best tailored for their needs that could include sidewalk vendors, food trucks and farmers’ markets.
  • Update and expand the ability of DCRA to issue citations for violations of the regulations to ensure vendors clean up any litter and maintain all required health and business licenses.
  • Clarify street-photography provisions around street vendors to make clear they are not applicable to journalists or photography enthusiasts.

“Street vending plays an important role in maintaining vibrant and active public spaces, as well as allowing entrepreneurs to start a new business,” said DCRA Director Nicholas Majett. “Many of today’s street-vending entrepreneurs will become tomorrow’s bricks-and-mortar entrepreneurs.”

The proposed regulations are being published in the DC Register on January 20 and will be open for a 30-day public-comment period. The final regulations will require approval by the DC Council.

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