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County’s ordinance would ‘devastate’ sidewalk vendors, opponents say

Updated April 2, 2024 - 7:03 pm

Opponents of the county’s proposed sidewalk vendor regulations say the ordinance would “devastate” the sidewalk vendor community and threaten their livelihoods, according to a county report.

County commissioners received a business impact statement on the proposed ordinance on Tuesday that would set rules and requirements for street vendors in Clark County. It would require street vendors to be licensed with the county, maintain an insurance policy and abide by strict restrictions on where they can operate, among other requirements.

The report, which gathered nearly 60 comments from business entities and interested community members during an 18-day period earlier this year, was conducted to determine whether the law will have a direct and significant burden on businesses.

A vast majority of the feedback said the proposed ordinance is too strict or unnecessary.

Many of those concerns were submitted by members of Make the Road Nevada, a progressive nonprofit organization that advocates for working class immigrants and street vendors. They argued that some of the requirements in the proposal would limit their ability to operate effectively in the community.

“Among our chief concerns are the arbitrary distance requirements, the outright ban on door-to-door sales, the imposition of mandatory liability insurance, and the prohibitive restrictions near school premises,” wrote Make the Road Nevada Director of Communications Andrea Masnata. “These conditions do not merely inconvenience; they threaten the very existence of our vendors’ businesses and by extension, their families’ livelihoods.”

Other comments questioned how the county would ensure street vendors comply with operating and health standards laid out in the ordinance.

Some business entities, including the Vegas Chamber and the Henderson Chamber of Commerce, voiced support for the proposed ordinance, arguing that the ordinance ensures fairness in requirements for food establishments.

“The Chamber notes that the proposed ordinance is essential to ensure parity and equity within the food service industry and the greater business community,” Vegas Chamber President Mary Beth Sewald and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Hugh Anderson wrote in a letter. “With over 70 different industry sectors represented by the Chamber that must be licensed by state and local governmental entities, operational parity is fundamental.”

In its comments to the county, the Nevada Resort Association threw its support behind “robust enforcement measures,” including on highly traveled sidewalks.

Although it’s unknown how many sidewalk vendors that could be affected by the proposed ordinance, officials estimate that number could be around 200 businesses.

The report also concludes that licensing sidewalk vendors could have an impact on the 244 licensed mobile food vendors and other food establishments in Clark County.

Enforcement of the ordinance will require additional staff and resources that will “significantly” exceed the amount of revenue expected to be collected from license fees, but an exact figure was not determined by the report because the exact number of sidewalk vendors is unknown.

County commissioners formally introduced the ordinance Tuesday and set a public hearing for April 16, during the board’s next meeting.

Contact Taylor R. Avery at TAvery@reviewjournal.com. Follow @travery98 on X.

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