DCRA scrambling to set up vending rules by MLB All-Star Game

Key story highlights:

  • D.C. has created a special event vending permit that vendors will need if they want to sell around Nationals Park during the MLB All-Star events.
  • Some details of those permits, such as how many slots there will be and when the lottery will be held for them, are to be determined.
  • Food trucks will need a special permit if they want to park in the vicinity of the stadium during the events.

Some information is starting to trickle out about what vendors need to do to sell around Nationals Park during Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game events, but plenty of questions remain a little more than a week before it’s all scheduled to begin in the District.

Anyone who wants to sell items around Nationals Park during a seven-day period before and after the July 17 main event will have to get a special event permit. Existing vendors around Half Street SE who already have permits for specific locations will also have to apply for the special vending permit, but for them, the $300 fee will be waived.

Those who were assigned specific locations for the Nationals regular season will likely be able to vend in their usual spots, but the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is still figuring out whether any of those locations must be moved because of competing priorities. Media trucks and others will also be looking for places to camp out in the days surrounding the game, which could mean some vending spots could be eliminated. DCRA has yet to determine the exact number of available vending spots during the week.

Vendors who want to sell during the All-Star events have to apply for the special permit in person at DCRA’s offices at 1100 Fourth St. SW. Anyone who does not already have an assigned vending site will be assigned one in a lottery — hopefully, “as early as Wednesday,” according to spokesman Tim Wilson. That would be two days before All-Star events are set to begin July 13.

That begs the question: With so much notice that the All-Star Game was coming to D.C. — MLB announced the pick in 2015 — why is the city just getting around to working out these details? Wilson said it’s a matter of balancing all of the entities making requests for the use of public space.

“For an event like this, there are numerous requests surrounding the stadium and beyond. Our role is to administer vending spaces as they become available,” Wilson said. “That may take some time, but we’re working as quickly as possible to provide vendors access to this area.”

Here’s what we know so far:

Locations: If a vendor is given a spot, it can only sell from that specific location for the entire seven-day period. Vendors without permits cannot operate within — and can be removed from — the expanded stadium special event zone, which stretches from Nationals Park and Yards Park up to Eye Street SE between South Capitol and Fourth streets SE.

Food trucks: They will also have to jump through the extra hoop if they want to set up shop in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood around the All-Star Game. Trucks that already have an assigned space in the Mobile Roadway Vending zone in the neighborhood will also have to apply for the stadium special event permit, though the fee will be waived. It may not be worth their while, however. The Metropolitan Police Department is expected to be restricting vehicle access and parking on many of the streets within the special event zone. So even with a permit, many otherwise legal food truck spots may be closed off just before or during the events.