Mobile Merchandising Sarah Dibben, owner of Swallow at 433 Warren Street, asked about regulations in the city code pertaining to street vendors and trucks. She mentioned specifically a truck selling coffee that had parked in front of her coffee shop and later had positioned itself across from Relish, on South Front Street near the train station. She wanted to know: "Where these vendors are paying taxes?"
The discussion expanded to include Truck Shop, regularly parked of late near Warren and Fifth streets. Dibben noted that Truck Shop was posting its location and hours on a website and was selling the same goods as some of her neighbors in nearby shops. There was some question about the permitted distance between trucks and brick and mortar businesses selling similar goods, and Branda Malholtz asked where trucks are allowed to be located. Although the specific reference in the city code was not cited last night, Chapter 307-5 E specifies: "No vendor shall sell a product within 100 feet of a store selling the same or a substantially similar product."
Alderman Bart Delaney (Fifth Ward) asked Dibben if she had checked with code enforcement. City attorney Carl Whitbeck commented that a truck can only park on the street for two hours at a time. Whitbeck may have been referring to the general two-hour limit for parking on Warren Street, encouraged by parking meters that max out at two hours, but Gossips could find no reference to a time limit in Chapter 307 of the city code, which deals specifically with vendors and was revised in 2008. A time limit is, however, specified in Chapter 203-5 C--a chapter that deals with "Merchants, Transient" and was adopted in 1973 and not amended since: "A licensed transient merchant shall . . . not stand or permit the vehicle used by him to stand in one place in any public place or street for more than 10 minutes, or in front of any premises for any time if the owner of or lessee of the ground floor thereof objects." It is not clear if, under the law, a vendor is the same as a transient merchant and subject to the same restrictions, or if the two are different.
Surveillance Cameras Tim Slowinski, owner of Limner Gallery at 123 Warren Street, brought up the topic of police surveillance cameras proposed for his block. At the last Common Council Police Committee meeting, police commissioner Gary Graziano spoke of installing cameras at the corner of Warren and Second streets and the corner of Warren and First streets. He reported that people have offered to have them mounted on their buildings and to pay for the electricity to operate them. Graziano indicated that cameras are a deterrent to crime and that the tapes from the cameras are used by the police to identify cars and locate suspects when crime has been committed. Slowinski, however, called the proposal to install cameras "an over-the-top reaction to some people who are loitering on the corner."
Although Warren and Second and Warren and First were proposed as locations for surveillience cameras, the southeast corner of Warren and Second seemed to be the focus of the conversation last night. Alderman Nick Haddad (First Ward), who was chairing the meeting in Moore's absence, suggested that the surveillance cameras were in response to drug dealing. Alderman Tiffany Garriga (Second Ward) said she didn't think drug dealers hung out there. She said the problem was loitering, and the City should just enforce its loitering laws. She went on to say that "the people who own the business are giving people chairs to sit out in front."
Since the building is owned and managed by Housing Resources and Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood now has its office in the building at 6 South Second Street, it was suggested that the perceived problem could to addressed by simply talking with Housing Resources and with Joan Hunt, Promise Neighborhood project director.
Plans for the Park Sheena Salvino, executive director of Hudson Development Corporation (HDC), spoke of the meeting about Seventh Street Park that had taken place the previous Thursday and reported that "the next step is to do a survey." The plans are to create an online survey, to conduct surveys with people in the park, and to make paper surveys available at businesses surrounding the park and at City Hall.
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