Safe Start Temporary Vending Permits

To provide vendors greater flexibility to try out new sites, we are offering a temporary vending permit through January 31, 2023. This option is available for vending food, flowers, or publications from either a vending truck or cart in the curb space, sidewalk, or plaza areas.

Who can apply?

  • Any eligible food, flower, or publication vendor

What you should know:

  • Unless there is support from the adjacent businesses, temporary food vending cannot be located within 50 feet of a food-service business and temporary flower vending cannot be located within 50 feet of a flower-service business.
  • Temporary vending may not be located where an adjacent business is proposing to use the curb space (for curb space locations).
  • Temporary vending may not be located in existing loading zones (for curb space locations)
  • We will allow more than two vendors per block with this permit type.

Updated Public Notification Requirements

To issue our permits faster, we’re not requiring the normal two-week public comment period for new temporary vending sites. Instead, applicants are required to notify nearby residents and businesses of the proposed vending location at least 2 days before beginning operations. You can find more guidance on public notification in CAM 2117

Download a public notification flyer that you can complete, print out, and distribute!

How to apply

Use the detailed bullet points directly below to help you complete your online application form 

  • Log in to the Seattle Services Portal 
  • Select  Permits - Street Use  
  • Open Short Term Use  
  • IMPORTANT: Select Temporary Activation (Do NOT select Vending for these temporary Safe Start Permits, thank you!) 
  • Project Name: Please put "Safe Starts," followed by your business name. This will help us expedite your application. 
  • Project and Location Description: please provide a detailed description of your planned use, including the days of the week and hours (start and end time) that you wish to vend.  
  • Use Details: In this section of the application, you'll need to create one Row for each day of the week you wish to operate in the right of way (for example, if you wish to operate just on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you'll have 3 rows; if every day of the week, you'll have 7 rows). For each row, follow these instructions in this order for the Safe Starts Temporary Permit:  
    • Use Code Description: Select "Street/Sidewalk Activities" (Vendors: Do NOT choose Temporary Curb Space Vending!!)  
    • Use Code: This will automatically fill in with "3A"  
    • Mobility Type: Choose based on your plan; this will likely be either Sidewalk or Parking Lane  
    • Closure Type: Choose "Partially Closed and Accessible"  
    • Use Start Date: Choose the first day you plan to open your temporary activation (the date should be in the future)  
    • Duration (Days): Fill in "182" (this is the number of days in a 6-month period)  
    • Start Time: What time of day will you begin setting up in the right of way  
    • End Time: What time of day will all permitted uses be removed from the right of way  
    • Planned Number of Attendees: Leave this blank  
    • Expired Date: This will automatically fill in  

Ensure your application includes all required documents: 

  • King County Department of Public Health Mobile Food Unit permit or state if you are exempt (permits expired since the start of 2020 are acceptable)   
  • Seattle Fire Marshal permit, if using an open-flame or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) or receipt of pending permit   
  • Seattle Business License  
  • The license plate number of your truck, if vending from a truck 
  • Site Plan and associated details (see below) 

Site Plan Types: We cannot review your application without a site plan. This shows the measurements and exact location of the area that you want to use. You may choose one of the following ways to create your plan before uploading.

Site Plan Documents for vending trucks in curb spaces  

    • Create a formal site plan (see CAM 2116 for additional information and template available here); OR  
    • Provide a photo of your truck which includes the truck's dimensions - length x width. 

Site Plan Documents for vending carts on sidewalks or in curb spaces

    • Create a formal site plan (see CAM 2116 for additional information and template available here); OR  
    • Create a photo-based plan with 3 photos following the specific guidelines below.   
      • All 3 photos are required to complete your site plan. One of your photos must show the required dimensions described in Site Plan Details further below. If you'll find it hard to digitally show your footprint on a photo, please "draw" the proposed vending area corners or full outline directly on the sidewalk or street using tape or chalk. Do this before you take photos!  
      • Photo #1: Stand about 10 feet away from the proposed vending area footprint and take a photo of the proposed area. If you've pre-marked the corners, capture them in your photo, as well as some background to help identify placement!  
      • Photo #2: Take a similar photo from the other side of the proposed vending area.
      • Photo #3: Take a front photo from the street side of your vending area, showing the adjacent building frontage and including the footprint area corners.  
      • Choose one of the photos and mark-it up to include all required dimensions. You can do this digitally, or you can print a photo and mark it up by hand.   

Site Plan Details: When you create your site plan, it must include all the information listed below. Without this information, your application may take longer for us to review and approve. You'll need to get out your tape measure for this, and clearly indicate on your plan:  

    • Footprint Dimensions: Indicate the length and width of the proposed vending area (or truck dimensions for trucks). If you are proposing a vending cart in the "furniture zone" of the sidewalk, you must show the measurement from the edge of the sidewalk (the curb) to the edge of the proposed vending area. You need at least 4' between the curb and the start of your temporary vending area.   
    • Pedestrian Clear Zone: If you are proposing vending on a sidewalk, indicate the sidewalk width next to the outdoor vending area footprint to show how pedestrians will travel on the sidewalk. The minimum required pedestrian clear zone is 6 feet in most neighborhoods (an 8 foot minimum width is required in some areas downtown - see Streets Illustrated section 2.3). 
      • NOTE: If there is not enough space for the minimum clear zone, then you may be ineligible for this permit. 
    • Clearance from other fixed objects: The sidewalk may include other objects such as light poles, trees, parking meters, hydrants, and bike racks. Please measure the distance from those objects to the edge of your footprint and include these dimensions on your plan.  
    • Curb space identifier numbers: If you're proposing a curb space vending operation in a paid parking area, please provide the curb space identifier number(s) (use this map to find the numbers).  

A car parked in a space next to the curb

An example photo site plan with required dimensions  

Fencing Details:  Fencing is required for all cart vendors in curb spaces. We'll need the following details on fencing.

    • Description of fencing, including dimensions, drawing or photo, or description of fencing material.  Fencing must be between 30" and 42" high.      

What's next?

Once you have submitted your application for a Safe Starts Temporary permit, here are some additional steps you can take to prepare for launch!    

  • If you plan on using the curb space, in addition to the permit from our team, you'll also need to apply for Temporary No Parking permits.  When you are applying, there's a General Information section and you can select a "reason" for your application. Select "other" and write "Safe Starts Temporary Permit" so we know that your request needs to be expedited.  
  • For both non-paid and paid parking spaces, you'll need to apply online via the same Seattle Services Portal you use for our application. You'll apply for the "Temporary No Parking Zone (unpaid area)." This generates a public notice which must be attached to the No Parking barricades. 
  • The public notice generated will need to be posted to No Parking barricades (T-39 signs) that you could purchase or rent from a barricade company. We recommend placing the barricades up 72 hours before you plan to set up, but they must be up at least 24 hours ahead to be enforceable.  
  • Notify your neighbors of your intended use of the public place at least two days prior to starting your new operation. Follow the guidance in CAM 2117.  
  • Ensure that you hold insurance that meets city requirements. For guidance, see CAM 2102.


Greg Spotts, Director
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 3800, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34996, Seattle, WA, 98124-4996
Phone: (206) 684-7623

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