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Committee meets to discuss home rule petition on street cart vendors

Date: 12/14/2009

By Debbie Gardner

Assistant Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD - The Veterans, Administration and Human Services committee continued its discussion of the proposed street vendor ordinance at its Dec. 7 meeting.

According to City Conncilor James J. Ferrera, committee chairman,on the table was the draft of a special act petition pertaining to how the city licenses street cart vendors.

"We're going to be petitioning the legislature to create home rule legislation that pertains to Springfield," Ferrera told Reminder

Publications. "It will apply to street cart vendors who use public ways."

The proposed special act will not apply to street cart vendors who operate on private property.

Ferrera said the proposed ruling will be based on a similar home rule ordinance that is in effect in Boston.

"That's what the [city] law department is using to guide us through to draft our home rule petition," he said.

Ferrera confirmed that the current draft of the special act includes language indicating vendors would be required to obtain permission from building owners to park in front of their location. Vendors would also be required to get the OK from a building's first floor tenants to park in front of their business.

"That's the way the current draft reads, but that doesn't mean it's the way the final draft will read," he said.

Ferrera stressed that the committee is working hard to "resolve this issue and make [any ruling] fair and equitable for everybody."

He also confirmed that "four or five" street cart vendors attended the Dec. 7 meeting to express their opinions on the provisions of the special act.

They and the public will have another opportunity to speak to this issue at the next meeting of the Veterans, Administration and Human Services Committee, which is slated for 30 days from the December session. The tentative date for this meeting is Jan. 4.

Ferrera said if it is approved at the January meeting, he will bring the special act before the City Council for a vote.

"If it passes [there], it will be sent to the mayor," he explained.

Should Mayor Domenic Sarno approve the special act, Ferrera said a representative of the city council will escort the home rule petition to the Legislature in Boston.