City of Las Vegas proposes tough regulations on sidewalk vendors
The City of Las Vegas has proposed strict regulations that would likely curb the presence of sidewalk vendors within its limits, despite the passage of state legislation earlier this year meant to remove systemic barriers facing the businesses.
Under the city’s proposed ordinance, street food vendors would be banned from operating within 1,000 feet of city parks, pools, community centers, recreation centers, and schools.
Vendors would also be banned from operating within 1,000 feet of the Fremont Street Experience, and the Downtown Entertainment Overlay District.
That’s about double the height of the LINQ’s High Roller observation wheel, or the length of the Stratosphere tower, which stands at a height of 1,149 feet.
Operating as a sidewalk vendor within 1,500 feet of a resort hotel and within 150 feet of a food establishment would also be banned under the city’s proposal.
City leaders said they will be taking business impact statements through Nov. 2. The bill will then be introduced at the Nov. 15 city council meeting. The city hopes to adopt the bill at the Dec. 20 city council meeting.
The strict measures are unsurprising after the City of Las Vegas strongly opposed a state senate bill signed into law this year that sets up a regulatory framework that would allow sidewalk vendors to legally operate in Clark County and Washoe County.
The new law was created to establish a clear path for street vendors to operate legally by modernizing rules that make it too difficult, time-consuming or expensive for sidewalk vendors to obtain valid permits.
During the first meeting for the Task Force on Safe Sidewalk Vending Tuesday, representatives for the City of Las Vegas said their proposal aligns with the framework set by state lawmakers to license and regulate sidewalk vendors.
The meeting included presentations and updates from Clark County and the City of Las Vegas on the implementation process for legalizing street vending in Nevada.
Samuel Cano, a member of the task force representing street food vendors, argued that the 1,000 feet boundary set around public spaces like city parks, community centers, and schools is excessive and would limit vendors’ ability to operate successfully.
Several members of the task force echoed Cano’s concerns and asked the City of Las Vegas to significantly reduce the distance requirement. Members of the task force also asked Clark County to adopt a zero feet distance requirement for sidewalk vendors operating in public spaces, much like Reno.
“I would urge you to consider zero feet like they did in Reno,” said Cinthia Moore, a task force member representing sidewalk vendors with Make the Road Nevada.
“As a Latina and someone that grew up in this area, street vendors bring a lot of joy to our communities and also children. I am the mother of a small child. He’s six and every time he sees the street vendors, he gets excited. He knows we’ll be able to get a snack right after school,” she continued.
Maggie Salas Crespo, the deputy secretary of state for Southern Nevada, also requested more leniency around the distance requirements proposed by the City of Las Vegas. She recommended the city implement a reservation system for vendors who want to sell in parks, similar to the reservation system already set up for picnic tables, rather than ban sidewalk vendors completely.
The City of Las Vegas is also currently working on creating a business license for sidewalk vending, as required by the new state law.
Sidewalk vendors in the City of Las Vegas would be required to describe their selling methods and the items being sold, the methods to sell and the items being sold. Applications would also require the name and current mailing address of the vendor, the business name if applicable, and their home address if they’re in the City of Las Vegas.
The annual sidewalk vending license fee would be $150 annually and is non transferable. Vendors will also need a health card as required by the Southern Nevada Health District, and a health permit for the cart being used.
Earlier this month, Clark County commissioners approved their own ordinance banning sidewalk vendors near the resort corridor and large arenas. That ordinance only applies to unincorporated Clark County, which includes the Las Vegas Strip, but does not include the City of Las Vegas.
Clark County Business License director Vincent Kiano said the county “is committed to working diligently to establish the necessary licensing and regulations to support sidewalk vendors.”
A second ordinance regulating sidewalk vending for the rest of unincorporated Clark County will be introduced as early as January 2024, said Kiano.
Clark County is also working to create a multi-jurisdictional licensing office where sidewalk vendors can apply for a business license in multiple jurisdictions at once.
State Sen. Fabian Doñate of Las Vegas, emphasized the importance of the task force moving forward, including assisting in the oversight and implementation of sidewalk vendor regulations, and making additional recommendations to the legislature.
“The community will help guide government on where we can remove barriers for vendors without compromising safety or oversight,” said Cisco Agular, the Nevada secretary of state.
“It takes a huge financial risk for a young entrepreneur to open a food cart. They’re investing a significant amount of their life savings, if not their entire life savings, into their dream. They deserve to have the same protections that any other business owner has.”
This story was originally published by Nevada Current.