City Council approves bill to expand street vending permits
The City Council approved a bill Thursday to expand street vending permits by thousands.
The bill calls for the creation of 4,000 new permits.
Rollout of the expansion wouldn't happen all at once. The bill would also create a unit to enforce street vending laws.
Right now, the city caps the number of vendors - forcing some people to spend a lot of money just to use someone else's license.
Opponents of the measure had said it creates unfair competition between vendors and the already established brick and mortar stores. They also say there are concerns about enforcement.
Wilma Alonso, the executive director of the Fordham Road Business Improvement District, says she is disappointed in the decision.
Alonso issued a statement saying, "We are not only disappointed, but we are absolutely appalled by both the significant lack of transparency by the City Council and the fact that the final bill now pits Manhattan against the outer boroughs where the majority of new licenses will be issued, a provision added at the last minute behind closed doors by Manhattan council members. Instead of the City Council listening to the concerns of the small business community, they fell on deaf ears."
Alonso says three things must happen before a new license is issued.
"First, the city must develop a clear framework for enforcement, including addressing the lack of it now. Second, the taskforce stipulated in the bill must include more small business representatives from every borough, not just Manhattan. And finally, there must be a careful look at existing licenses and geographically where it makes sense to issue new ones. Only under these conditions is reform possible, and we will continue to speak up for the lifeblood of our commercial corridors and hold the City Council accountable for their actions."
Permits for vendors will be issued in batches until the year 2032.