COOS BAY — City officials could welcome street vendors to downtown streets as soon as March.
The City Council this week gave the go-ahead for the city’s staff to draft an ordinance governing food carts and other street vendors. Staff members already had produced a list of 11 proposed rules, which City Manager Rodger Craddock described as loose and simple.
“We didn’t want to make it too onerous and prevent anyone from getting into business,” said Craddock. “It can almost be like a business incubator situation for some people.”
The primary concern about vendors is that established businesses might have to fight on their own doorsteps for customers. So the rules will require any vendor to stay at least 50 feet from a similar business. For instance, a hot dog vendor must steer clear of any restaurant.
Vendors also must stay at least 10 feet away from the entrance of a building where business is being conducted.
Other restrictions are already in effect, such as a state law that bans vendors along U.S. Highway 101.
Craddock said the city’s rules won’t be overly restrictive. Sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages is off-limits. Most of the other rules are safety-related.
After reviewing the proposed rules, the council asked for only one significant change: a higher fee. A brick-and-mortar business pays $25 for a business permit. Councilors suggested vendors should contribute more, because their clientele may end up using other city services that existing businesses are already charged for, such as sanitation. The fee for vendors is likely to be $50.
Craddock said drafting the formal ordinance shouldn’t take long. It could come to the council Feb. 19. If approved then, vendors could be on the streets as early as March.
Reporter Tim Novotny can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or at email@example.com.