Vending Permits

Permit Counter Temporary Closures

To protect the health and safety of our staff and customers, and to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19, we closed our public-facing customer service counters on Monday, March 16, 2020. Our counters remain closed until further notice. This includes both the Street Use and the Traffic and Parking permit counters at the Seattle Municipal Tower on floors 23 and 37. We are still processing permit applications.

You can submit applications for all permit types online through the Seattle Services Portal.

Our staff will be available to provide application coaching and assist with issuing permits by phone or e-mail.

VENDORS!  Keep checking this box for new updates as we approach fall of 2022! 

9.15.22 Update: Timeline for Submission of Renewal and New Applications for Vending in 2023

All current Vending Permits expire on January 31, 2023. This includes our standard one-year vending permits which have been extended throughout the pandemic, and our temporary Safe Start vending permits. Site priority for vendors wishing to renew their current sites ONLY applies to the standard one-year permits.

Any vendors interested in vending in public right-of-way after January 31, 2023 will be required to submit new applications on the Seattle Services Portal. This includes both renewing your current permits and applying for a new vending permit. If City Council approves our recently proposed changes, we expect to begin accepting standard one-year renewal applications by mid-fall of 2022, and begin accepting applications for new vending permits before the end of the year.

There are no steps for vendors to take yet, but we want to keep you informed so you have some idea of what to expect in the coming months. Below is our initial draft timeline; it will be added to as decisions are made, so please keep checking this site for updates!

Important Dates Calendar: Vending Applications
10/15/2022 FIRST day to apply to RENEW standard one-year permits at your current existing sites (these permits begin with the letters SUVEND)

LAST day to apply to RENEW standard one-year permits at your current existing sites

If you submit a renewal application for a current site AFTER 11/15/22, it will be treated as a new application. This means you will lose your prior site priority and you will be charged fees for a new application instead of for a site renewal.

To be Determined

We will post an updated Vendor Bulletin showing existing permitted sites and sites with availability to accept new applications.
To be Determined FIRST day to submit NEW applications for open days and times for existing sites (as listed on Vendor Bulletin) and for any new sites you identify
To be Determined LAST day to apply for open days and times for established sites (as listed on Vendor Bulletin) before we hold a lottery
01/31/2023 All current standard one-year and temporary Safe Start permits expire
02/01/2023 FIRST day of the 2023 vending year!

Proposed Changes: Vending (July 2022 DRAFT)

Our Vending Program has grown over time, offering steady opportunities to new and established small businesses. Most of our vending permits are issued for a specific location for a one-year period. To support these businesses as they build their customer base over time, we give preference to currently permitted vendors who submit on-time applications for their same site and same permitted days and hours for subsequent years.

For currently unpermitted sites, we use a simple lottery system when more than one application is received for the same site, days, and hours. This relieves vendors of the stress of a first come/first serve system and diminishes subjectivity during the permit review process.

One challenge we had before the recent pandemic, however, was how to increase opportunities for new vendors, particularly those with limited resources to commit to the uncertainty of a new site for a full year. We included one idea to meet this challenge into our 2023 transition plans – a 4-month trial permit. The idea was offered by one of our current vendors who took part in a small vendor advisory group in 2021.

What we’re proposing for 2023

Vendors experienced significant disruption to their business operations due to the pandemic. When the temporary Safe Start Program ends, we want to help vendors re-enter the new normal. To do this we will continue to offer one-on-one coaching while we streamline our application requirements. We plan to offer new temporary vending opportunities and remove some current restrictions to provide more opportunities for vending in Seattle. In addition, we will begin to allow vending of goods beyond food and flowers as a part of events with our Market Streets program.

What you need to know

Key Permit Details

Updated detailed permit requirements will be available on our permit webpages prior to the conclusion of the temporary Safe Start Program.

Our proposal removes limitations in code and provides for more discretion in our review process so we can consider applications in their context and allow vending where it will benefit the community. Specifically, we plan to:

  • Remove restrictions that prohibit vending within 50’ of a brick-and-mortar business selling food or flowers.
  • Remove limit of two vendors per block face, although we will continue to review for adequate curbspace loading and other site-specific factors before issuing permits.
  • Remove restrictions on vending that prohibit applications in Neighborhood Residential zones and within 1,000 feet of high schools, although we will review applications and may limit vending based on site context and based on feedback from nearby schools.

Application Timeline and Requirements

In addition to issuing temporary Safe Start Vending Permits, we extended previously-issued and active one-year vending permits to the Safe Start Program end date of January 31, 2023. We will provide more details on the application submittal timeframe in the upcoming months. Vendors wishing to renew their extended pre-COVID permits can expect to apply in early Fall 2022. Vendors seeking new sites or new days or times at established sites, can expect to apply in late Fall or early Winter of 2022.

Public Comment Period

Public Notice followed by a 2-week public comment period is required for new vending permits. Notice will not be required in subsequent years for unchanged permits, and notice will not be required for temporary permits, including our new 4-month site trial permit.

Program Costs and Permit Fees

Fees for an approved vending unit are delineated by permit type below. While the issuance fees shown below are significantly higher than 2020, this is because they now include review fees that were previously charged separately.

One-year site-specific vending (first year for vendor at site)

  • Issuance fee (one-time fee for first year for vendor at site)
    • $950
    • Hourly-rate review fees for secondary review by SDOT and other departmental subject matter experts may be charged when required (Current 2022 hourly rate is $305)
  • Occupation fee (charged at issuance first year at site, no changes proposed from current 2022 rates)
    • $104 for curbspace in unpaid parking per 4-hour slot/per day of week/per year
    • $478 for curbspace in paid parking per 4-hour slot/per day of week/per year
    • $0.70 - $1.40 per square foot for a sidewalk, plaza, or stadium district site per year

One-year site-specific vending “Renewal” (subsequent years for vendor at site)

    • $553 (charged in lieu of issuance fee for returning vendors)
  • Occupation fee (same as first year)
    • $104 for curbspace in unpaid parking per 4-hour slot/per day of week/per year
    • $478 for curbspace in paid parking per 4-hour slot/per day of week/per year
    • $0.70 - $1.40 per square foot for a sidewalk, plaza, or stadium district site per year

Temporary site-trial vending (4-month trial for new vendor-identified sites)

  • Issuance fee
    • $200
    • No occupation fees

Temporary event-based vending (daily)

  • Issuance fee
    • $75 (for up to 4 separate days on one permit)
    • Note: there is a waiver option for charitable events where food is given away free.

Route Vending

  • Issuance Fee
    • $275

We are currently accepting feedback on the draft of our proposed Director's Rule which you can find on our Director's Rules and Ordinances page. If you would like to provide feedback please email us at by Monday, August 15, 2022.

Apply for a Permit (current process)

We are in the process of developing programmatic changes to our standard, long-term vending permit program. At this time, we are not accepting new long term vending applications but we encourage you to apply for our new, streamlined, FREE temporary vending permits for food trucks and vending carts. Please see our Temporary Permits webpage to learn more!

You can apply for a vending permit through the Seattle Services Portal. We've outlined how to get started using the Seattle Services Portal below:

Food Truck Vending - vending from a vehicle at a designated curb space. 

  • Under Create New select "Permits-Street Use" and navigate to and select the "Short Term Use" and "Vending" record type. 
  • Under "Use Code Description" you will need to select between "Curb Space Vending (Paid Parking)" or "Curb Space Vending (Non-paid Parking)"

Stadium, Sidewalk, and Plaza Vending - vending in the designated stadium area, from a sidewalk, or plaza  

Stadium and event center vending includes selling goods, things, services, food, or nonalcoholic beverages of any kind from a temporary display table, tent, vending cart, or food vehicle during event days at a specific site in the authorized Stadium Event Vending area. Only two vending carts on a sidewalk are allowed per block face. Vending of food from a food vehicle is allowed at a specific site on a public plaza.  

  • Under Create New select "Permits-Street Use" and navigate to and select the "Short Term Use" and "Vending" record type.  
  • Under "Use Code Description" you will need to select between "Stadium Vending" or "Sidewalk/Plaza Vending" 

Temporary Vending - vending for an event 

You may vend from a curb space during an event located on private property or an event occurring in the public place. Your permit is valid for the specific days and hours during the event. You may need additional Street Use permits if the adjoining public sidewalk or street will be closed for the special activity.

  • Under Create New select "Permits-Street Use" and navigate to and select the "Short Term Use" and "Temporary Activation" record type. 

Route Vending - mobile vending of food exempt from a King County Health Department Mobile Food Unit permit allowed in a public place on a mobile route 

Examples of acceptable types of food include popcorn, ice cream, cotton candy, slushies, corn on the cob, roasted nuts, ready-to-eat food, and hot beverages.   Most mobile food vending activities in the right of way require permits from the King County Health Department as well as additional permits. However, mobile food vending does not require a King County Health Department Mobile Food Unit permit. Please review this list of health-permit exempt food from the King County Public Health website. 

  • Under Create New select "Permits-Street Use" and navigate to and select the "Short Term Use" and "Vending" record type.  
  • Under "Use Code Description" you will need to select "Route Vending"  

First Amendment Vending - vending of merchandise in which the organization's political, religious, sociological, or ideological message is inextricably intertwined is allowed in a permitted site  

For more information, please see Director's Rule 94-2.

  • Under Create New select "Permits-Street Use" and navigate to and select the "Short Term Use" and "Vending" record type.  
  • Under "Use Code Description" you will need to select "First Amendment Vending"  

Important Notes

  • Vending permit applications require a site plan  (11"x17"preferred).  
  • CAM 2800 lists the required documents for each vending type. Please review the CAM before submitting your application. 
  • Please also review our Estimate and Pay Permit Fees page  to learn about fees associated with our vending permits.  
  • There are also insurance requirements associated with permitting of some vending activities. To learn more about these requirements, please see CAM 2102.   

Is a Vending Permit all I need to become a vendor?

Vending in public spaces requires more than just a Street Use vending permit. To start your new vending business, you will first need a City of Seattle business license from Seattle’s Finance & Administrative Services Department. Depending on your business type, you may also need a food permit from the King County Health Department or a Seattle Fire Marshal permit (for use of open flame, wood, or charcoal to prepare food).

In Seattle right-of-way, vendors are permitted to sell food and/or cut flowers only. This limitation expands for vending in authorized stadium areas, and for organizations exercising first amendment rights.

A Street Use vending permit allows you to use the specific location you identify; and the vending decal you receive must always be prominently displayed, to avoid fines and penalties. If you intend to vend on property managed by Seattle Parks and Recreation, you will need to obtain a Park Use permit.