Tomorrow, a newly-formed group representing the city’s pushcart vendors will ask the Downtown Commission to end restrictions on their ability to operate during special events and on their nighttime operating hours.
The United Pushcart Vendors of Asheville sent out the following list of points about the city’s current ban on pushcarts operating during downtown “special events” like festivals.
1) Vacating our sites during these events causes undue, severe economic hardship for the effected vendors, since these events are held on the best revenue producing weekends of the year.
2) Our sites are on the sidewalks with the required 6-8 ft. clearance for pedestrians, while the events are primarily held on the streets.
3)The City of Asheville views pushcart vendors as merchants. Our year-long, renewable permits should supersede and, in many cases predate those permits issued to event organizers.
4) Years ago, when this capricious and arbitrary ordinance was written there were only a handful of “special events” held in the city. Since then the number of events held has grown “exponentially”. The Downtown Commission is currently addressing the issues relating to special events.
5) Many pushcart vendors are an established, integral part of the business/downtown community. We serve as information ” ambassadors” to tourists. We add charm, vitality and diversity to an active urban environment, therefore we feel that we have a right to participate in any business, social or cultural event in the area of our established business.
The group plans to make their demands at tomorrow’s Downtown Commission meeting. They will also push for an end to the current requirement that vendors shut down at 11 p.m., pointing out that rules allowing food trucks in the downtown area allow them to operate later (2 a.m.).