Hialeah is considering changes to the way it regulates street vendors in the city, but an advocacy group that has sued Hialeah because of the rules says the changes aren’t good enough.
City Council members on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to change Hialeah’s ordinance regarding street vendors. If the changes pass a second vote, probably in January, street vendors will no longer have to stay 300 feet away from brick-and-mortar stores that sell the same goods they peddle on roadsides.
But new limitations would be enforced, including a prohibition on selling near highway ramps or when it’s dark outside. Vendors would also have to get written permission from private property owners in order to stop on their property.
“All we’re doing here is tightening things and cleaning up language,” said Mayor Carlos Hernandez. “I have to tip my hat to those vendors, but we have to find balance.”
City leaders say the regulations are for the safety of street peddlers.
The Institute for Justice, which is suing the city on behalf of an association of local vendors, says the changes don’t address the most problematic parts of the ordinance.
Lawyers take issue with rules that prohibit vendors from staying in one spot for more than 10 minutes, and against displaying their goods on stands, or even placing their buckets of flowers or other goods on the floor.
“We want to protect the right of people to earn an honest living,” said Claudia Murray, the lead attorney for the Institute for Justice on the case.
The group, a non-profit that bills itself as a “libertarian public interest law firm,” said it will amend its lawsuit to reflect whatever changes to the ordinance are passed, and assured that the case would move forward.
“Hialeah makes it legal to vend, but they make it illegal to vend effectively,” Murray said.
Follow @Cveiga on Twitter.