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Street food vendors seek clarity about state licensing law

Since a law was passed this year to create a path to legalize street food vending, confusion has reigned over what that path means in practice for the community in Las Vegas.

On Thursday night, organizers of a town hall meeting aimed to curb that confusion by providing up-to-date information on the new law and how it will work.

Street food vending remains illegal in Clark County because the county has yet to establish a process to apply for a license to become a vendor.

More work to be done

State Sen. Fabian Doñate, D-Las Vegas, and Maggie Salas Crespo, the deputy secretary of state for Southern Nevada, explained what needs to happen before applicants can receive their permits and licenses.

The law established a framework to create a path to legalize street food vending, but it requires counties to implement ordinances and establish licensing before local health districts and other municipalities create their own procedures.

Part of the confusion stems from the fact that the law requires several government entities to take action, Salas Crespo said.

Nikki Burn-Savage, environmental health supervisor for the Southern Nevada Health District, told the Review-Journal the agency is ready to roll out its permitting process once Clark County creates the structure to license vendors.

The health district is planning to adjust its open air permit with a waiver to allow vendors to move around. That permit would require vendors to get a health card, which would require identification coming from any country, Burn-Savage said.

The district also is looking at options for a payment plan for vendors who will be required to use commercial grade equipment to safely transport food and keep a sanitary station on the street.

The commercial grade equipment must be certified by the National Sanitation Foundation and the American National Standards Institute that it is equipped with a hand-washing station with a self-contained waste bucket.

Restrictions near Strip and stadiums

Clark County officials said at a County Commission meeting Aug. 15 that efforts are underway to create an ordinance to prohibit street food vendors from working near the Strip.

The ordinance is expected to outlaw street food vendors from operating closer than 1,500 feet from a resort hotel. That would block out the Strip as well as Allegiant Stadium, as street vendors also wouldn’t be allowed to sell items near any facility with seating capacity for at least 20,000 people and constructed to accommodate a major or minor league sports team.

Although street food vendors are currently illegal in Nevada, no fine can been issued because there is no application available for licensing and permitting available at the county level. It will be a year after the bill was signed into law before street food vendors will be able to start applying for permitting by July 1, the law states.

But the program could be implemented sooner, Doñate said during the town hall meeting.

Task force to be formed

The Nevada secretary of state’s office has heard another concern that street food vendors are being approached by strangers who say they will help them fill out an application for a fee, even though no process has been established yet, Salas Crespo said.

She asked those in attendance to report any document preparation fraud, which the secretary of state’s 0ffice would investigate.

The secretary of state’s office on Monday announced that it is taking applications for those wishing to be part of the street food vendor task force. Salas Crespo said the plan is to interview candidates in mid-September and to establish a board by mid-October.

Contact Jimmy Romo at jromo@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0350. Follow @jimi_writes on X.

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