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SDOT Street Use Vending Permits

What's New

  • The September 2016 edition of our Vendor Blender newsletter has now been published! Check it out here.

  • Current permit holders: see Permits – Current and Under Review to check on your permit status.

  • Due to widespread construction throughout the city, we encourage vendors who plan on applying for vending permits to check our Citywide Planning and Coordination Map before applying. This is especially true for vendors interested in working in South Lake Union or the Denny Triangle area. In order to minimize unanticipated construction impacts on vendors, SDOT may decline to accept vending applications for sites that are scheduled for construction within the next year.

Overview

The City of Seattle encourages street-food vending to increase public use, enjoyment, and safety of our public right of way. With proper design and management, street-food vending can be a great way to encourage walking, add vitality to the street, and promote local economic development.

The City Council and the Mayor adopted Ordinance 123659 regarding street-food vending in July of 2011. This legislation streamlined the rules and regulations for street-food vending, making it easier to be a street-food vendor in Seattle.

Vending in public right of way requires a Street Use Permit from the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT). There are several different types of Street Use vending permits:

To learn more about vending in public spaces, please view our Vending in Public Spaces brochure. Apply for a vending permit here

VENDING PERMIT TYPES

Read the description below and decide which type of vending permit is right for your business.

Sidewalk or Plaza Vending

This type of Street Use permit is valid for one year and is issued based on daytime (6 AM – 8 PM) or nighttime (8 PM – 6 AM) use.

  • Vending of food or flowers from a vending cart:
    • Allowed at a specific site on a public sidewalk or plaza
    • Maximum limit of two vending carts on sidewalk per block face

  • Vending of food from a food vehicle:
    • Allowed at a specific site on a public plaza

See CAM 2501, Sidewalk and Plaza Street-Food Vending, for additional information.

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Curb Space Vending

Vending of food from a food vehicle is also allowed in a curb space with a valid Street Use vending permit for a specific location and time period. Curb space vending may occur from a designated food-vehicle zone or as a temporary curb space activity associated with an event on the adjoining property.

  • Designated Food-Vehicle Zone. A food vehicle vendor may vend from a curb space that has been signed and designated by SDOT as a Food-Vehicle Zone.
    • Allowed only for permitted days and times. This type of permit is issued in 4-hour weekly increments. (For example, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 AM 2 PM)
    • Permit is valid for one year and issued based on daytime (6 AM 8 PM) or nighttime (8 PM 6 AM) use
    • Maximum limit of one food-vehicle zone per block face and no more than two food vehicles may be allowed in any one food-vehicle zone unless more is authorized by the SDOT Director
    • See CAM 2507, Curb Space Food-Vehicle Zone Vending, for additional information
  • Temporary Curb Space Activity. A food-vehicle vendor may vend from a curb space in conjunction with an event located on private property abutting the curb space or an event occurring in the public place.
    • Allowed only for permitted days and times. The vendor may only vend from the curb space during the allowable times on their Street Use permit
    • Permit may be obtained by the vendor, adjacent property owner, or a public entity for no more than four days during a 6-month period for the adjoining address in commercial zones or for no more than one day during a calendar year for a block in a residential zone
    • Additional Street Use permits may be required if the adjoining public place (sidewalk or street) is proposed to be closed for the special activity
    • See CAM 2510, Temporary Curb Space Vending, for additional information

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Stadium and Event Center Vending

A vendor may vend goods, things, services, food, or nonalcoholic beverages of any kind from a temporary display table, tent, vending cart, or food vehicle during event days at a specific site in the authorized Stadium Event Vending area.

  • Permit may be issued on a monthly basis or for a 6-month season (April-September or October-March)

See CAM 2508, Stadium & Event Center Vending, for additional information.

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Mobile Food Vending

A vendor may vend food that is exempt from a King County Health Department Mobile Food Unit permit in the public place (for example, pre-packaged ice cream).

    • Permit is not location specific and the vendor is allowed to move around from place to place, but is restricted from certain parts of the city.
    • Mobile food vending is not allowed within:
      • Fifty (50) feet of any public park, as defined in SMC Chapter 18.12
      • One thousand (1,000) feet of any public or private school containing a Kindergarten through 12th-grade class
      • Fifty (50) feet from any food-service business
      • Loading zones
    • The mobile food vendor shall:
      • Obey all traffic rules, Title 11
      • Comply with the Noise Ordinance, SMC Chapter 25.08
      • Not stop the food vehicle or vending cart in a curb space or other public place for any longer than necessary to vend to waiting customers
    • Permit is valid for one calendar year.

See CAM 2509, Mobile Food Vending, for additional information.

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First Amendment Vending

A nonprofit organization may vend merchandise in which the organizations political, religious, sociological, or ideological message is inextricably intertwined. The vending may be from a specific site designated by SDOT, Seattle Parks and Recreation, or Seattle Center. For more information regarding the requirements for applying for this type of permit, see Directors Rule 94-2.

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Additional Resources

Relevant Client Assistance Memos:


OED Vending Web Portal:

Relevant Ordinances, Directors Rules, Municipal Code, and Zoning:

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Contact Information

Contact Street Use for more information:
Street Use Division
(206) 684-5267
DOT_Vending@seattle.gov

Seattle Municipal Tower, 23rd Floor
700 5th Avenue
P.O. Box 34996
Seattle, Washington  98124-4996

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