The long-discussed permitting system for 24th and Mission Street vendors will supposedly take effect Tuesday, with violators first getting a warning, and getting their items seized if they get a strike two.
The descent of the 24th and Mission Street BART plaza area from normal street corner to largely stolen-item, illegal vending bazaar has become one of the Mission District’s most contentious issues of 2022. A proposed new vendor permit system has not kicked in yet, and quite notoriously, a set of ineffective chain link fences did nothing but hamper access to the sidewalks until the fences were ripped down by protesters in late August.
But the nascent permitting structure is about to take effect, and we’ll soon learn for better or worse if permitting really does crack down on illegal vending. The Chronicle reports that the permit enforcement will begin on Tuesday, with SFPD and Public Works employees sharing the enforcement load in the early going.
Apparently vendors were handed notices on Monday that that crackdown begins Tuesday. “Officials let vendors know that if they return Tuesday to sell without a permit, they would be asked to pack up their goods,” the Chronicle reports. “If they don’t move them, they could be given a notice of violation and their goods confiscated.”
The permit technically costs $430, but reportedly no one so far is paying the full $430. “All applicants [to date] qualified for a fee waiver,” according to the Chronicle. “As of Friday, Public Works had approved 41 permits with two still under review. It referred 16 prospective vendors, who wanted to sell non-packaged food, to the health department.”
How heavily-handed the enforcement happens remains to be seen. SFPD says they will be there, but they’ll leave the permit enforcement to Public Works employees. “The role of the SFPD in the permitting process is simply to support DPW in their enforcement endeavor,” Mission District Captain Michael McEachern told the Chronicle. “At this point we do not intend to become involved unless the safety of the (Department of Public Works) workers come into question.”
So Tuesday will be an interesting day at a corner that’s been the center of a charged debate all summer. But whether Tuesday is actually a turning point in any of this remains to be seen. And the permit system itself is untested, and its enforcement may yield unpredictable results.
Image: Joe Kukura, SFist