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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Update: Street vendors win suit against City of Atlanta

With the chaos of the holidays, you may have overlooked a major victory for the Atlanta Street Vending movement. A story that we first reported on back in July of 2011 has come to a close, or at least entered the next chapter.

On December 21st, the Fulton County Superior Court struck down the city’s Public Vending Management Program that would have consolidated all of the street vending in the city under General Growth Properties. A lawsuit against the City of Atlanta was brought by Atlanta vendors Larry Miller and Stanley Hambrick, with the help of the Institute of Justice, a group of Libertarian lawyers with a strong focus on fighting unfair business regulations.

The suit contended that by revoking all of the existing street vending permits – originally slated to take effect on December 31st, 2012 – and forcing all vending to flow through GGP, the city was essentially mandating a forced monopoly. It seems that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Shawn LaGrua agrees.

In a four page decision, LaGrua held that the City of Atlanta violated the City Charter by granting an exclusive franchise. The more legalese-inclined of you can read the entire decision here.

While the food truck movement was not directly affected by the GGP contract because they operate on private property, the Dec. 21st victory removed what would have been another hurdle for mobile food vendors to win the right to vend on public streets. So, even though your favorite food truck wouldn’t have been run out of town with the dawning of the New Year, the issues are interconnected.

Of course, this may not be the last that we have heard of this case, and the decision could potentially be reversed on appeal, and as Jeremiah McWilliams reports for the AJC, the ruling opened more questions about where to go from here. Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration defended the contract in court, and has until January 22nd to appeal the decision.

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

21 comments Add your comment

Kev

January 4th, 2013
8:23 am

RK

January 4th, 2013
9:51 am

What was the city even thinking?

[...] Update: Street vendors win suit against City of Atlanta [...]

AzCat

January 4th, 2013
10:51 am

Power to the people; power to the people, right on!

Sean

January 4th, 2013
11:15 am

Cant wait to see more crappy 3rd world style vendors out on the streets after this ruling.

Georgia Girl

January 4th, 2013
11:55 am

With the City of Atlanta, I have always found it difficult to distinguish whether the sewer system is above ground or below.

Go, Braves!

Victor

January 4th, 2013
12:17 pm

Great, now the sidewalks at Five Points can continue to look like a backyard picnic in a trailer park. Gee, I wonder why Atlantans don’t like to go downtown.

Edward

January 4th, 2013
12:54 pm

While the “vendors” outside Five Points and elsewhere downtown are questionable, at best (I’m trying to be nice), the solution offered by the city is just abhorrent and smacks of the debacle they invented with the parking situation (Park Atlanta, anyone?). By giving one company (that is probably kicking back god-only-knows-how-much graft) control of the entire vending world is ludicrous and rife with corruption. But then, that’s how it is done in Atlanta.

Downtowner

January 4th, 2013
2:23 pm

If the downtown street vendors seem “questionable” and “3rd world style,” it’s because the police will NOT enforce the city’s vending ordinance. I think the police are in cahoots with the downtown business interests who don’t like the vendors– let them get bad enough and the city will outlaw them. But the ordinance covers what can be sold, the size of the vending tables and what they can look like, where they’re located, and so on.

These vendors support families and work hard. I’m glad the city lost the lawsuit.

Baltisraul.....

January 5th, 2013
9:41 am

Downtowner……you are correct. These folks are working, payng taxes and being productive. I for one, am behind anyone who is willing to do a honest days work. If the downtown businesses feel threatened, they can build a better mousetrap like their forefathers did. Thats how it is done in the country.

Victor

January 5th, 2013
10:09 am

Being productive and doing an honest days work at creating an eyesore. In the historic center of the city where tourists and conventioneers can have an instant negative view of the city. Nice.

Let’s set up a bunch of eyesores next to your home or business and see how you like it. It’s easy to feel sympathy for the mess and protect them with patriotic platitudes if you don’t live here, isn’t it?

Morningside

January 5th, 2013
10:13 am

@sean: just stay up in Alpharetta and you don’t have to bother with 3rd world stuff such as this.

Downtowner

January 5th, 2013
11:55 am

@ Victor. Again, the police are allowing these “eyesores” to happen, for the present vending law covers all the situations that create an eyesore. Laws about what can be sold, the appearance and size of the vending tables, the places where things can be sold. If a vendor violates the law, he can have his permit taken away. So why won’t the police gives the vendors tickets? All that mess at Five Points across from Underground shouldn’t be allowed, and there’s a police precinct right there. Why??

Lorenzo

January 5th, 2013
12:24 pm

I’ve enjoyed great street vendor food in the “third world,” not to mention US cities with street vendor cultures like New York. But what’s available in Atlanta is just disgusting, as are the streets of downtown. Atlanta, clean up downtown and bring it into the 21st century the way other cities have. Do something real about the problem of crazy homeless people wandering about.

Downtowner

January 5th, 2013
1:05 pm

@ Lorenzo. Those “crazy homeless people” have nothing to do with the street vendors, and are a problem for them too since they scare off the customers.

KIM

January 5th, 2013
7:12 pm

The street vendors will be an added blessing to the city…great food and a little fun ambience. Atl needs that badly! Looking forward to them! Wish some would come to the burbs…but not practical. :Love the ones that you can hire to cater!

Victor

January 5th, 2013
9:55 pm

Thanks for the information, Downtowner. I didn’t know that was the case.

What a shame that the police are unwilling to fix the mess outside Five Points with the ugly vending tables. Atlanta puts so much money into some things downtown (like the nicer vendor kiosks) but then scuttles its own efforts by turning a blind eye to the mess elsewhere.

Leaders seem full of resolve when its time to do something silly like rename a downtown street to honor someone, but they lack it when it comes to doing something truly productive.

berry steve

January 6th, 2013
9:06 am

Victor, what is wong with patriotic platitudes? Do they make you nervous? LMAO

Downtowner

January 6th, 2013
10:33 am

@ Lorenzo. Many think those “nice vendor kiosks” downtown are ugly as sin. They’re big metal closed-in boxes with 3 sides of national advertising, like billboards. I myself resent billboards on downtown streets. They’re also too small to hold very much merchandise, so they’re not a bargain for the vendors.

Baltisraul.....

January 6th, 2013
1:42 pm

Lorenzo…….the homeless issue is sorta off the point isn’t it?

Victor…..who says I don’t live here? I guess all the major cities w/ food trucks are eyesores? What a Maroon!

bilco

January 6th, 2013
9:23 pm

kasim and his corrupt friends in atl govt want to make some money on this deal somehow—that’s the only reason for these new “rules”