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San Francisco street vendors required to carry permits following complaints from business owners &#8

San Francisco is about to take another shot at containing illegal vending. City leaders say the sidewalk markets are hurting licensed businesses, and contributing to crime, so starting Tuesday permits will be required.

“This is information on how to get a permit,” said a San Francisco Public Works employee, handing out flyers Monday.

It was a personal visit to each vendor at the 24th Street BART plaza, with San Francisco doing one last round of public outreach.

“He was talking about how I can get a vendor permit to be able to sell here without catching a citation,” said JJ, a Mission Street sidewalk vendor.

“We have done a tremendous amount of outreach over the last few months, working with community groups to let people know that this process is in place,” explained Rachel Gordon with San Francisco Public Works. “With permits, we’ve been working with people and how to fill out the applications.”

Enforcement will be straightforward; Anyone selling items on the sidewalk will be asked for a permit, and in some cases, they may be asked for receipts.

“If it’s goods that look like it could’ve come from a drugstore, like a row of shampoo or shaving cream or something,” Gordon said. “We want to show that there’s some kind of ownership there.”

“We go to get a license, a permit,” said Alex Suen, owner of Mona’s Apparel, of the unlicensed vending outside his store back in March. “They just dump things on the street. Why should we go through all those?”

Amid a wave of complaints from business owners, city supervisors drafted up the new rules. Since then, fencing was tried at 24th Street but then removed. Public Works says the permit enforcement will be a learning process for everyone.

“I’m definitely going to do it,” JJ said of the permit. “Definitely going to do it. Better than catching a citation, possibly going to jail. You know?”

The city says police will only be used to ensure the safety of the people asking for the permits. Look for enforcement at Civic Center Plaza, and outside both BART stations in the Mission District.

Permits will cost $430; however, vendors who can prove they are low-income would have the cost waived.

Wilson Walker joined KPIX 5 in July 2007. After 10 years producing newscasts, Wilson became a Multimedia Journalist (MMJ) in 2012, meaning he shoots, writes and edits all of his own stories.

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