Worcester street vendor ordinance

Last night’s liveblogging got a bit crazy, and today’s T&G article was solid, but we wanted to give you guys a chance to sift through the ordinance yourself and comment on it.  Below the jump is the entire text passed by the council last night.  (There will be one more final vote on it in September)

Read on for the full ordinance.

Revised 8-12-2008 to Reflect Amendments Made In Public Safety Committee

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER FOURTEEN OF THE REVISED ORDINANCES OF 2008 RELATIVE TO STREET VENDORS

Be it ordained by the city council of the city of Worcester, as follows:

1. Chapter fourteen of the Revised Ordinances of 2008 is hereby amended by deleting section two in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following new section two:

§ 2.   Street Vendors

(a)        No person, either principal or agent, who, either on foot, or using any animal or vehicle located on any public or private way appearing on the official map, including any sidewalk, traffic island or similar area located within any public street layout, or any private property within twenty yards of any such public or private way, sells or barters, or carrying for sale or barter or exposing therefor, any goods, wares, merchandise (including flowering plants and flowers), beverages, food (including fruits, nuts or berries), ice cream or frozen foods, or meals or lunches prepared for consumption by the purchaser, shall conduct such business without first having obtained a license issued by the chief of police in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.

(b)        Subject to law, no license shall be granted to any person who is not a citizen of the United States unless such a person is authorized to work in the United States under federal law, nor shall a license be issued to any entity that is not duly registered with the commonwealth.

(c)        Every license issued under this section shall be in full force and effect until the date of expiration stated on such license, and in any event, shall expire on the next May 1st following the date of issuance, unless sooner revoked.

(d)        The fee for licenses issued under this section shall be fifty‑four dollars except that, unless otherwise authorized by law, there shall be no fee for hawkers and peddlers who have obtained a license from the state under G.L. c. 101.

(e)        The provisions of this section shall not apply to wholesalers or jobbers selling to dealers only, nor to commercial agents or other persons selling by sample, lists, catalogues, or otherwise for future delivery, nor to any person who peddles only fish obtained by his own labor or that of his family, or fruits, vegetables or other farm products raised or produced by himself or his family.  However, such persons shall comply with all other applicable provisions of this chapter.

(f)  In addition to the requirements of this chapter, the chief of police may issue regulations or adopt operating procedures, including additional license restrictions, as may in his or her discretion be necessary or advisable to reduce the threat to the physical safety of patrons, purchasers or passers-by and to promote the good and efficient administration of this chapter.
2. Section nine of chapter fourteen of the Revised Ordinances of 2008 is hereby amended by deleting paragraphs (a) and (e) and inserting in lieu thereof the following:

(a)        Every license issued under the provisions of this chapter shall contain the name, residential address and business address of the licensee; the hours of operation; the location(s) of the site where the sales will be conducted; a description of the goods, wares, merchandise, food, beverages or flowers being sold; the names and residential addresses of any persons who will be assisting the licensee with conducting business at the site; and if applicable, the vehicle identification number and description of any vehicles used by the licensee in conducting business at the site.  The licensee shall immediately report to the appropriate chief of police any changes in the information listed in this section.

(e)        Any violation of any provision of this chapter may result in the revocation or suspension of the license by the chief of police.  A licensee may make a written request for a hearing before the chief of police on any such revocation or suspension which shall be held by the chief of police within fifteen days of receipt of the request.

3.  Section eleven of chapter fourteen of the Revised Ordinances of 2008 is hereby amended by deleting said section in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following new section:

§ 11.    Restrictions on Licenses

(a)  Licenses Restricted.  Every street vendor license issued under this chapter shall include the restrictions contained in this section and the chief of police may include any or all of the following restrictions on any license issued to a transient vendor, open air sales vendor (including sidewalk food sales establishments), sidewalk merchandise merchant and every special license issued to every temporary charitable event organization (including every vendor, peddler & merchant operating under such a special license).

(b)  Restriction on Areas.  No sale, barter, display for sale, or carrying for sale shall be permitted and no street vendor shall operate upon Foster Street, Commercial Street, Major Taylor Boulevard, Exchange Street, M.L.K. Jr. Boulevard, Front Street, Mercantile Street, or on private property that is contiguous to such streets on those days when events are scheduled at the DCU Center.

(c)  Restriction on Proximity to Other Licensed Establishments.  No sale, barter, display for sale, or carrying for sale shall be permitted, and no street vendor shall operate, within five hundred feet of any location that holds, or has held within the twelve months preceding the application date, a common victualler’s license issued pursuant to section two, subsection twenty-one A or subsection twenty-one E of chapter one hundred and forty of the General Laws.

(d)  Threats to Safety Prohibited.  No sale, barter, display for sale, or carrying for sale shall be permitted by and street vendor, transient vendor, open air sales vendor (including sidewalk food sales establishments), sidewalk merchandise merchant or special temporary charitable event licensee (including every vendor, peddler & merchant operating under such a special license) if such activities create a threat to the physical safety of patrons, purchasers or passers-by, or if the activities of patrons or purchasers create a threat to the physical safety of others.  For purposes of this provision a “threat” shall include the assemblage of any number of people in the traveled portion of any public or private way within three hundred feet of the vendor, peddler or merchant.

(e)  Restriction on Length of Stopping Time.  Unless approved as a stationary vendor under section 11A herein, no street vendor licensed under section two of this chapter shall remain in any one location on any public or private way on the official map for more than five minutes without making a sale and must move at least five hundred feet every five minutes while actively making sales; provided however, that no licensee shall move to any place where the licensee has operated in the preceding sixty minutes.

(f)  Restriction on Hours of Operation.  No sale, barter, display for sale, or carrying for sale shall be permitted, and no street vendor shall operate, between the hours of midnight and five o’clock a.m.; provided, however, upon the request of any street vendor who gives written assurances as to the maintenance of public safety, the chief of police may allow such street vendor to operate between the hours of midnight and 2:30 a.m.

(g)  City Park Land.  No sale, barter, display for sale, or carrying for sale shall be permitted, and no street vendor shall operate, upon city park land, including the city common downtown, or any city land dedicated as a city square or any city land dedicated, but not actively in use, as a city street for the movement of vehicles and pedestrians, without a license issued under this chapter and the written permission of the commissioner of public works and parks.  Notwithstanding the requirements of section two of this chapter, in granting such permission the commissioner may authorize a street vendor to operate within twenty yards of any abutting public or private way.  A copy of such written permission shall be maintained in the possession of each street vendor during business operations and shall be provided to any police officer or city enforcement official upon request.

(h)  Private Property.  No sale, barter, display for sale, or carrying for sale shall be permitted, and no street vendor shall operate, upon private property within twenty yards of any abutting public or private way without a stationary vendor license issued under this chapter and the written permission of the owner of said property.  A copy of such written permission shall be maintained in the possession of each street vendor during business operations and shall be provided to any police officer or city enforcement official upon request.

4.  Chapter fourteen of the Revised Ordinances of 2008 is hereby amended by inserting a new section 11A as follows:

§ 11A. Stationary Vendor Licenses

(a)  Approval of Commissioner of Public Works & Parks.  Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this chapter to the contrary, a street vendor licensed by the chief of police in accordance with this chapter may conduct the activities authorized under such license at a stationary location within any public way, including the sidewalk area, traffic islands, pedestrian control areas, and the traveled portion thereof, if such person also obtains the approval of the commissioner of public works and parks (“commissioner”) under this section.

(b)  Abutters’ Consent – General.  The commissioner shall not approve a stationary vendor license unless the owner or owners of all properties within fifty feet of the proposed stationary location consent in writing to the location.  For purposes of this subsection, “owner or owners” shall include the first floor tenants.

(c)  Abutters’ Consent – Food Sales.  In addition to the requirement of subsection (b) above, the commissioner shall not approve a stationary vendor license requested by any vendor proposing to sell food of any type where the proposed stationary location is within two hundred-fifty feet of any location that holds, or has held within the twelve months preceding the application date, a common victualler’s license issued pursuant to section two, subsection twenty-one A or subsection twenty-one E of chapter one hundred and forty of the General Laws unless the holder of such common victualler’s license consents in writing to the location.  Where the location involves a common victualler’s license which has ceased operation within the preceding twelve months, the consent of the owner of the property may be substituted for the consent of the holder of the common victualler’s license.

(d)  Distance Measurements.  In determining compliance with the distance requirements contained in subsections (b) and (c) above, measurements shall be made from the proposed stationary vendor location and running on the boundary between the public street layout and the private property shown on the most recent assessing maps on both sides of the street for the specified distance.  Where such measurement reaches an intersecting public street before achieving the specified distance, the measurement shall continue both along the street of the proposed stationary vendor location and around the corner of the intersecting street.  Notwithstanding the above, in determining compliance with the distance requirements contained in subsection (b) above where the proposed stationary location abuts city park land, the measurement shall be limited to the side of the street containing the park.

(e)  Safety Restrictions – Vehicular Traffic.  In reviewing applications for stationary street vendor locations where the proposed location is within the portion of any public way traveled by motor vehicles the commissioner shall take into consideration the risk to public safety and the safe and efficient movement of traffic on the street, including emergency vehicles.  No stationary street vendor location approval shall be granted for any proposed location utilizing any restricted parking space, including metered spaces on any public street and no stationary street vendor location approval shall be granted unless the point of sale on the vehicle is facing the sidewalk portion of the public way such that patrons need not step off of any curb stone or curbing to make a sales transaction.

(f)  Safety Restrictions – Pedestrians.  In reviewing applications for stationary street vendor locations where the proposed location is outside of the portion of any public way traveled by motor vehicles, the commissioner shall take into consideration the danger to the safety and welfare of pedestrians using the sidewalk and public ways, including physically impaired pedestrians, school children, persons entering and leaving buildings, vehicles entering and leaving the public way and to persons performing essential utility, traffic control, and emergency services.  The commissioner shall not approve a stationary vendor license where the proposed location interferes with access to any traffic control pole containing a pedestrian crosswalk button.

(g)  Safety Restrictions – Emergency Communications.  No stationary location shall be approved if it is located: within twenty feet of any fire hydrant; or, within five feet of any fire alarm box or other emergency communication device, including public telephones; or, within five feet of any marked crosswalk, curb return at any intersection with an unmarked crosswalk, any public or private driveway; or handicapped accessible curb cut.

(h)  Safety Restrictions – Schools.  No stationary location shall be approved if it is located within twenty feet of any designated school crosswalks or school bus stops or on any side of a street adjacent to any private or public school property where signs are erected giving notice of prohibited vehicular parking in such areas.

(i)         Indemnity & Insurance Required.  Each stationary vendor location approval shall be made upon the condition that the stationary vendor shall execute a written agreement to indemnify and hold harmless the city against all damages or cost by reason of any claim for damages, or any process, either civil or criminal, on account of said placement, installation or maintenance or any injury to any person or damage to any property occasioned thereby; provided, however, that such obligation to indemnify and hold harmless the city shall not extend to any damages, or process, either civil or criminal, or to any injury to any person or damage to any property resulting from the acts or the failure to act, of a third party. The stationary vendor shall provide a surety company bond or insurance policy in an amount not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars per claimant with a per occurrence maximum of three hundred thousand dollars in such form and with such companies as shall be reasonably and customarily acceptable to the commissioner and the city solicitor.

(j)  Unrelated Advertising Prohibited.  No stationary vendor location shall be used for advertising signs or publicity purposes, other than that dealing with the display, sale or purchase of the goods, merchandise or services offered for sale therein by the stationary vendor; provided that, any such sign shall not exceed twelve square feet and may not be located in such a manner as to obscure or otherwise interfere with the effectiveness of an official traffic sign, signal or device, or obstruct or interfere with driver or pedestrian visibility.

(k)  Other Restrictions Authorized.  The commissioner may impose such other conditions or restrictions on the stationary vendor as he or she may deem in the public interest, but not including restrictions on the hours of operation beyond those established by the chief of police under section 11(f) hereof.

(l)  The commissioner may establish a reasonable fee for the review and approval of applications for stationary street vendor location approvals.

5.  Chapter fourteen of the Revised Ordinances of 2008 is hereby amended by deleting section twelve in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following new section twelve:

§ 12.  Penalties for Violations of this Chapter

(a) Any violation of the provisions of this chapter may be enforced by civil process, criminal process, by non-criminal disposition as provided in General Laws, c. 40D, § 21D or by the revocation of any license issued under this chapter as provided herein.  Except as provided in subsection (b) herein, each sales transaction conducted in violation of these provisions shall constitute a separate offense and any person in violation of the provisions of this chapter shall be penalized by a fine of two-hundred dollars for each offense.  Any license issued under this chapter shall be subject to revocation upon the occurrence of any three or more violations over any three day period.  Any notice of revocation shall be effective upon receipt by the licensee if it is in writing, signed by the chief of police and delivered by police officer, constable or by regular mail and contains a statement that the licensee so notified of any such license revocation shall be entitled to a hearing before the chief of police or his designee in accordance with the provisions of section 9(e) of this chapter.
(b)  The penalty for selling any flowering plants and flowers, fruits, nuts or berries as are wild or uncultivated in violation of this chapter shall be twenty dollars.

6.  Section thirteen of chapter fourteen of the Revised Ordinances of 1996 is hereby amended by deleting said section in its entirety and  inserting in lieu thereof the following section:

§ 13.    Enforcement
The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced by the chief of police, the commissioner of inspectional services, the commissioner of public works and parks, or their designees.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Worcester street vendor ordinance

  1. me and the ole lady put the blog up on the big screen..made some popcorn..cracked open some beers and watched it like a movie..hilarious entertainment

  2. Kelly

    So, if all vendors are now banned from residential communities, does that mean no more ice cream trucks?

    Or does the city just plan to add them to the people they don’t intend to enforce the rules for?

  3. Ok, this is Amerika right?
    How about a referendum – we the people know better – right?
    I’m still looking volunteers to help out with the September coup d’état.
    All participants get a free t-shirt!
    We’re thinking a camo motiv would be appropriate.

  4. politics turns normally sane rationale human beings into something other than this:>)

    Everyone wants to be Thomas Jefferson nowadays..how hard is it to get together to craft a normal, sane & rationale set of rules for vendor carts?? One only wonders the meetings Young Park has had to endure

  5. Jim

    This is all part of reason I moved out of Worcester. I don’t miss that city.

  6. “hard is it to get together to craft a normal, sane & rationale set of rules for vendor carts?? ”

    >>number one reason this country is going down the drain….Congressman Tip O’Neil from my old hood in Cambridge was able to sit down with Ronald Reagan to get stuff done when stuff had to get done…word is they became good buddies even tho they sat at opposite ends of the table on many issues..yah think our Congressman could do this?? yah think this City Council could do this? Just sit down face to face and forge a vendor ordinance that will be as fair as possible to all instead of this non-stop grand standing???

    I was and am still in favor of the pay raise for our City Councilors but I do expect as a taxpayer that the bar on level of professionalism and degree of politics from our City Councilors to increase with it…Just a thought from the cheap seats

  7. wouldn’t it be delightful if our City Council tackled the problem property issue (long standing issue for the city-way before the current sub-prime crisis) like they have his vendor cart issue??

    how delightful it would be to actually say I live in a neighborhood…these are not neighborhoods within most of the urban core

    I dare say that this is a much larger issue in regards to why so many Generation X’ers are either fleeing the city en masse or so few are actually moving here Senor Zoback….crime even if it is low level and grime are still ravaging this city and these are the two main issues as to why many Generation X’ers have not reclaimed the city and most of these two issues are associated with bad people living in bad properties within bad neighborhoods or what we call neighborhoods in Woostah!

    Jobs is a third reason but entrepenuers do not need available jobs they create their own and for others and entrepenuers are not looking at Woostah as a place to be! How come?

  8. Pingback: The street vendor war continues | radioball dot net

  9. Pingback: Real Worcester » Blog Archive » The street vendor war continues

  10. Pingback: The street vendor war continues : Real Worcester

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