Wednesday, March 30, 2016

New Ordinance Could Mean More Downtown Street Vendors

Visitors and residents of Downtown El Paso may soon see more street vendors popping up along Downtown streets thanks to a new ordinance passed by City Council.

A parking space in Downtown El Paso will soon be occupied by a food vendor on certain days of the week. (City of El Paso)

This includes allowing vendors, such as food trucks, to park in the spaces for longer than the time limit indicated on the meter. Vendors will have to receive a "Special Privilege" license from the City in order to do so.

Street vendors like food trucks are a common sight in bustling urban neighborhoods in other parts of the country, and the new ordinance could help create more vibrant streetscape as seen in other downtowns.

And such means of commerce as mobile vendors allow entrepreneurs a more affordable way to start a business without having to invest many more thousands of dollars in a brick and mortar building.

The new rules are another option for already popular local food trucks which have largely had to seek permission from private property owners to park and sell their cuisine.

According to the very first request under the new rules, an approved Special Privilege license can be requested for specific days of the week and last at least a year.

Men stand at the site of a planned roasted corn vendor in Downtown El Paso. A new City ordinance allows licenses for street vendors to use parking spaces to sell their wares. (City of El Paso)

The first vendor to take advantage of the new rules is a Special Privilege request considered by City Council for a corn roaster in South El Paso. The vendor will pay the City $1,152.05 for the license plus an additional $1,560.00 for reserving the space.

The City also included a $30 administrative fee.