HOUSTON Street vendors now have new rules to follow in Houston after city council members say they've received a growing number of complaints.
Council members say street vendors often take over parking lots without permission and some of them create hazards by going on to the streets.
Apartment complex owner, Fred Bhandara, says street vendors aren t just disrupting traffic in his area. He claims he s losing potential tenants because of them.
It s certainly a blight. The discerning customer, who wants a better place to live, would go somewhere else, said Bhandara.
On Wednesday, Houston City Council approved a new, tougher ordinance on street vendors. They will now need to get permits every seven days and can only be in one location three times a year. They will no longer be able to camp out in one spot all year long.
Many times you have this going on right next to a house or right next to a favorite restaurant, and that restaurant has no control. We've heard from commercial people and from residents, said Houston City Councilwoman Toni Lawrence.
Under the new ordinance, vendors also have to show proof they're following sales tax laws, and they'll be forced to remove all debris at the site when their permits expire.
The ordinance goes into effect January 2010.
Council members say there's nothing wrong with someone trying to make a buck. They just want to make sure they have permission, and aren't causing a nuisance or safety issue.