Photo via Megan Morris/Flickr
Before the end of her tenure on Dec. 31, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito is making an eleventh-hour push for legislation aimed at expanding the city’s food vending industry. As Politico New York reported, the bill adds 335 more licenses for food vendors over 10 years, with 35 set aside for veterans. Currently, there are 5,100 licensed food vendors in the city. While the bill’s passage could be a victory for immigrant workers, many who make a living working on food trucks or carts, although sometimes on the black market, critics say increasing the number of permits allowed for rent-free vendors could hurt brick-and-mortar shops.
Since no centralized group oversees the city’s thousands of vendors, the bill would also establish a dedicated law enforcement unit. Plus, an advisory board would be created, made up of vendors, business representatives, city officials and community groups.
Talks about street-vending reform have been in the works for awhile and Mark-Viverito introduced similar legislation last October. The speaker’s original bill called for 600 additional permits, with 35 for veterans, over seven years.
The president of the New York City BID Association, Robert Benfatto, told Politico that the concerns of public space and the financial struggle of small businesses should be addressed before passing the bill. “At this point in time, it makes no sense to pass legislation, which most have not seen, in less than two weeks, without public input from those affected by this broken system,” Benfatto said.
[Via Politico NY]
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