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Letter from Barbara Haller to Editor of Worcester Magazine
May 5, 2007

Dear Editor:

Last week's Worcesteria observations regarding my Council request for the Administration to amend the process and requirements for a street vendor's license causes me to further comment on the issue. Worcesteria discussed some of the complexity of street vendors - namely, how to encourage retail diversity while protecting residential quality of life.

Farmers markets, carts selling high-end sunglasses, and a street vendor selling frozen ice in busy retail areas and during busy retail hours are very different from a food vendor who attracts people coming from bars and nightclubs in early morning hours, as does El Delicioso.

The situation around El Delicioso serves to illustrate a flaw in our current regulations around street vendors. El Delicioso has operated at the same location on Benefit Street, at the same times - early evening through early morning - for many years and it has been a continuous source of irritation and bad behaviors for its neighbors. All efforts to curtail these negative side effects have failed with one exception - El Delicioso now has paid police details for some of its operational hours.

Should a residential street be subjected to RV motor noise, street litter, loud conversation peppered with crude language, volume auto traffic, and the occasional (but too frequent) argument and scuffle - at 10pm, midnight, 2am, 3am, and beyond? I say no, and so do the affected neighbors. The fact that El Delicioso continues to operate demonstrates that reform is needed.

My request for action from the Administration for curtailing licenses from residential areas and/or restricting the hours of operation to 8am through 7pm are meant to suggest ways of reforming the present regulations and of highlighting the problem - residential harm, especially during usual family time and sleeping hours.

Rather than accepting that negative side affects of street vendors are necessary so as to receive good economic and recreational benefits, I believe that we can improve the licensing regulations and significantly lessen affronts to residential quality of life. That is the intent of my Council order and I look forward to the Administration's response.

Barbara Haller

Moving Forward
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