So much for friendly competition and the entrepreneurial spirit. When the District’s Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) proposed new regulations for sidewalk and mobile vending businesses, traditional brick and mortar dining spots, city business improvement districts and the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington took the opportunity to speak out against the businesses DCRA was “hoping to encourage with the new regulations,” according to Helder Gil, a legislative affairs specialist with DCRA.
“There had been a moratorium on sidewalk vending because there was confusion about who would regulate such businesses — DCRA or DDOT. As a result there had been no new vending locations allowed for several years,” said Gil.
On June 28, DCRA proposed regulations, posted on the DCRA site for public comment, that would ultimately break the moratorium on new vending operations in the District by determining new sidewalk vending locations and new vendors for those areas while also revising regulations for vendors.
“The overwhelming bulk is about where new sidewalk vending locations would be allocated and who they would be assigned,” said Gil.
Also included in the regulations are new rules that impact mobile vendors. The revised regulations state that mobile vendors must do business more than 50 feet from a restaurant selling a similar type of food, must be parked legally and must move to a new location or suspend business when they are done serving customers.
When Curbside Cupcakes sent out a call to their “Nation” of followers asking them to comment on the proposed regulations that are open to public comment before they are sent to the city council for approval, Gil’s email inbox was inundated with notes of support for mobile vendors. “In the last day and a half I’ve gotten over 300 emails. The mobile vendors are a small part of the new regulation but are getting the most attention. ”
Your comments can impact the regulations set forth by DCRA. If you would like your opinions on the regulation to be a part of the public record, comments are being accepted through the end of the month (in writing to Helder Gil, Legislative Affairs Specialist, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, 1100 Fourth Street, SW, Room 5164, Washington, D.C. 20024, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org) and are available for public viewing on the DCRA website.