Now legal: Mobile retailers in Austin

Jun 30, 2014
Austin Business Journal

After a push and an early endorsement dating back to last year, City Council has approved new rules to make it easier for mobile shops to operate throughout Austin


A handful of retailers had been lobbying for the changes for about a year after being stymied by a city code that made it easy to sell food, but not other goods, from trailers. The retailers argued that the businesses were essentially the same, and that the changes would expand the already vibrant and iconic trailer-based businesses throughout the city


One retailer, Bootleg Market and founder Sarah Ellison Lewis, said the city's old rules made it too difficult to continue operating her trailer selling high-end boots. At the same time, Lewis spun the initial venture into an online marketplace for footwear


The new rules permit retailers to operate in most zoning districts with limits on how close they can be to single-family-home zoned property. Retailers are allowed to operate between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. The rules are modeled on the city's mobile food vendor regulations


The ordinance requires mobile retailers to be approved by the city's Planning and Development Review Department and includes a "bad actor" provision that may revoke permits of vendors who repeatedly violate the rules



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