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City Aims to Double Number of Food Vendor Permits by 2023

By Trevor Kapp | October 11, 2016 1:59pm
 The city is hoping to double the number of food vendor permits over the next seven years.
The city is hoping to double the number of food vendor permits over the next seven years.
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DNAinfo/Jill Colvin

MIDTOWN — The City Council will introduce legislation Thursday aimed at doubling the number of food vending permits over the next seven years.

Under the Street Vending Modernization Act, the number of permits would reach 8,000 by 2023 and a vendor law-enforcement unit would be implemented. 

Currently, there’s a cap on the number of food carts and trucks allowed on city streets — which council members say has led to some shady renting practices. Existing permit carriers who no longer sell, for example, often illegally rent their licenses for tens of thousands of dollars, council members said.

The act aims to deter such operations.

“Street vendors have been targeted with inconsistent enforcement and shaken down by unscrupulous permit holders who currently control access to the limited pool of vending permits,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is co-sponsoring the bill.

“This legislation will increase opportunities for vendors by raising the number of food vending permits.”

About 2,500 people are currently on the waiting list for a food-vendor permit, according to Eric Koch, a spokesman for Mark-Viverito. 

Food vending permits are issued by the city's Department of Health.

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Under the act, an app would also be created with a satellite view of legal vending spots, and a street vendor advisory panel would be implemented to monitor enforcement and new permit rollouts.

It hasn't yet been decided which city agency would be running the enforcement unit proposed by the legislation, according to Koch.

“Street vendors are the ultimate mom and pop shops,” Councilman Mark Levine, one of the sponsors of the new bill, said in a statement. “The establishment of a Street Vendor Advisory Board and the creation of a first-of-its-kind Office of Street Vendor Enforcement will ensure fairness and consistency in the way street vendors are regulated.”