FPSBA Newsletter – Sept. 18, 2014 – Revised Vendor Ordinance

On September 15, 2014 the City Commission passed the revised Vendor Ordinance 5-0 on Second Reading without further revisions.

A brief history is in order. This ordinance had been developed over a period of two years.  It was prompted primarily by concerns about “Itinerant Retail Produce Merchants” selling items such as watermelons out of the back of trucks.  The ordinance was to make legal and control such activities.  It then grew to cover all types of vendors everywhere in the City including Mobile Food Vendors both trucks and carts.

When we first alerted you to this ordinance in October 2013, we spelled out our concerns for such vendors on South Beach at City designated locations along the street on A1A and South Causeway Park. These concerns were for the safety of park goers, particularly children, and the economic impact on our existing restaurants and food establishments.  We encouraged you to respond to us with your comments and concerns.  We received over 30 emails, 90% of which supported the Board’s concerns regarding Mobile Food Vendors on South Beach.  We did not take a poll of members by email but at the Annual meeting in February 2014, after a presentation on the issue, those present were asked, by a show of hands how many were in favor of Mobile Food Vendors on South Beach as proposed in the recommended ordinance.  Only 1 hand was raised out of 150+ people present.

At the first reading of the Ordinance, we reported our member’s response and asked that the Ordinance be revised to add a 300-foot restriction from all city/county parks along with the existing restriction for schools and churches. In addition, the use of any City property and right-of-way was deleted and vendors could only locate on private, commercial property.  There would be no designated locations for Food Vendors on South Beach or Downtown.  We supported these revisions.

At the postponed first reading and then the second reading of the revised Ordinance, the larger issue became a discussion of hot dog carts and how the ordinance would deprive a child of an easily accessible hot dog at the beach

There will be glitches in the Ordinance as passed. Some have already been discovered as staff worked through the application process.  Are 20 food vendor permits reasonable for the entire city?  The virtual elimination of South Beach from vendors is a sore point for some – also the 300-foot restriction from beach parks.  Thus the Ordinance is to be reviewed after seeing how it works in the real world at the second Commission meeting in January 2015.

We will keep you informed with the most accurate information as it becomes available through Newsletters and our website fpsba.org. As always, please feel free to contact us with your concerns and comments at 461-0430 or cmushier@fpsba.org.