Street Food Vending
In July 2011, the Committee on the Built Environment passed Council Bill 117225 and Resolution 31307, designed to ease street food regulations in Seattle, in an effort to increase the amount of food carts and trucks on public and private properties.
With the help and feedback of Public Health Seattle/King County, concerned business owners, and local mobile food enthusiasts, Council clarified sidewalk and parking space rules in order to provide certainty to potential vendors and the surrounding community. The approved legislation defines the appropriate distance from an existing restaurant (50 feet) or non-food business (15 feet), rules on litter, customer queues, noise from generators, and enforcement.
To address community concerns, Council strengthened public notice requirements and empowered the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) to require mitigation of the impacts of mobile food vendors on business displays and business signs.
The Council ruled out the use of loading zones by mobile food vendors (except in the stadium district), and specified that no more than two food trucks could occupy any food vehicle zone without approval of the SDOT director. We raised the parking use fee for food trucks, and mandated that food vehicles display SDOT contact information, so that the public can easily file complaints.
To address concerns about enforcement, we specified a fine structure and added that in the case of a continually bad vendor, the city could impound the cart or truck. We also passed a resolution requiring specific evaluation and enforcement measures, to ensure compliance with the new regulations and determine the impact, if any, to existing businesses.