A sweeping change rolled into the Clark County Code on Tuesday as the Clark County Commission, with unanimous approval, decreed a strict limitation on street vending activities in Las Vegas. This prohibition, to be enforced later this month, implements a ban on food, beverage, and miscellaneous merchandise vending in certain areas.
This comes as a blow to sellers like Luis Sanchez, a street vendor based in North Las Vegas, as the amended ordinance fillets their business territory. Positioned near casinos along the bustling Las Vegas Strip and other select locations, these vendors will have to abandon their enterprises that lined the sidewalks and pedestrian paths. Particularly, the ordinance forbids the sale of items within a 1500-foot radius of any casino, hotel, large athletic facility, or a convention center.
Vendors flouting the newly minted rule could be forced to shell out fines up to $500 or even face imprisonment of up to six months. The new law widens the definition of vendors to include anyone who sells goods or services on public sidewalks or pedestrian paths, ranging from pushcarts, stands, displays to pedal-driven carts, wagons, showcases, or racks.
The introduction of the new ordinance ushers Clark County into alignment with State laws enacted since July. The State legislators encourage county or local officials to establish their individual regulations. Vendors are required to abide by special permit and license protocols implemented in Clark and Washoe counties.
Yet, the implementation has not been smooth. Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick expressed her exasperation with the proliferation of vendors setting up shop near the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign. The restrictive parameters of the law, which stipulate purchasing three separate permits to be active in unincorporated districts of Clark County, have vendors up in arms.
Expenses run high for the vendors, with permit costs exceeding $800, followed by recurring annual license costs. State law permits localities to enforce outright prohibitions on selling near schools, food outlets, child care facilities, parks, and worship centers to name a few.
Amidst the wave of opposition, there have been instances of unruly vendors arresting for flouting the laws. A vendor selling flavored waters without the requisite license was apprehended near the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, even resorting to violence with an officer during the arrest.
While the law aims to maintain order, vendors and advocacy groups argue the need for more streamlined processes. “Make the Road Nevada” spokesperson Tony Ramirez noted that sidewalk vendors are not disappearing, but such rules could make their business untenable.
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