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Posted at 12:29 PM ET, 09/14/2010

Where are Georgetown's food vendors?

By Topher Mathews

Georgetown Metropolitan has received several requests lately asking, What’s the deal with food vendors and Georgetown -- more specifically why aren’t there any food vendors in Georgetown?

Well, there are several reasons, and despite changes on the horizon to the applicable rules, it seems unlikely that we’ll be seeing many or even any food vendors in Georgetown soon.

The District has a bit of a spotty history when it comes to street vendors. Prior to 1998, an old fashioned, first-come-first-serve street-justice ruled. That year, however, the District adopted new regulations clamping down on the market and instituted a moratorium on new food vendor licenses. This situation puttered along, with the quantity (and arguably the quality) of vendors slowly declining over the years. In 2006, the D.C. Council passed legislation to lift the moratorium and ordered the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) to design new regulations addressing the marketplace.

This situation worsened in 2007 when the moratorium was actually lifted because the DCRA still hadn’t issued new regulations. That’s basically where we are today. There’s a big debate over the proposed regulations roiling right now. Old food vendors want to keep out new food vendors. Brick and mortar stores want to make life difficult for all food vendors. Business Improvement Districts want to keep the businesses happy. And the public just wants a good bite to eat.

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Topher Mathews blogs at The Georgetown Metropolitan . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

By Topher Mathews  | September 14, 2010; 12:29 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., Georgetown, HotTopic, Local blog network  
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