The 24th St. BART Plaza one day before permits are supposed to be enforced. Seven cops are present on the plaza, six of which are pictured toward the back. Photo by Annika Hom. Taken Monday, Sept. 12, 2022.

The 24th Street BART Plaza has been a hot subject in the Mission; almost as hot as the heat wave last week. 

Over the past year, more street vendors have taken over the plaza. While acknowledging that everyone needs to make a living, residents and business owners have raised concerns over the current state of the plaza. Four days after an August state-of-the-plaza community meeting, a 28-year-old vendor was stabbed to death

To address the issue, District 9 Supervisor Hilary Ronen introduced a new permit system to regulate vending at the plaza and around the city. Today, police officers and workers with San Francisco Public Works began an education campaign and enforcement will begin tomorrow. In addition, there will be a second public meeting about the plaza on Tuesday at 6 p.m at 24th and Capp streets.

But how, exactly, do you get one of those vending permits? 

Follow our flowchart to find out.

Identifying locations is the main challenge faced by the first batch of applications.

Public Workers says if all the information is in order, the turn-around time typically two to three business days.

Start

your

application

Get

your

documents

Check

your

locations

Register

your

business

· Business name

· Business account number

· What you will sell

· Will you have a fixed location or will you move around

· If fixed, place. If moving around, your route.

· picture of yourself

Fee: $430 a year

Board of Appeals surcharge: $9

 

(Nearly all applicants

got fee waivers)

leave a path

at least six feet wide

bus stop/bike parking

Check

your

eligibility

merchandise

prepackaged food

things you made

(not food)

alcohol

any food that is not

prepackaged

Most of initial applicants got rejected because of conflicting or incomplete

info on location

Identifying locations is the main challenge faced by the first batch of applications.

Public Workers says if all the information is in order, the turn-around time typically two to three business days.

Register

your

business

Check

your

eligibility

merchandise

prepackaged food

things you made

(not food)

alcohol

any food

that is not

prepackaged

· Business name

· Business account number

· What you will sell

· picture of yourself

 

· Will you have a fixed location or will you move around

· If fixed, place. If moving around, your route.

Get

your

documents

Check

your

locations

bus stop

bike parking

leave a path

at least

six feet wide

Most of initial applicants got rejected because of conflicting or incomplete

info on location

Start

your

application

Fee: $430 a year

Board of Appeals surcharge: $9

 

(Nearly all applicants

got fee waivers)

By Sept. 6, half of the vending permits had been approved. Three are pending until the $9 Board of Appeals charge has been paid.

Monday morning, Mission Local spoke to two vendors who had a permit, and one who did not. One man, who was selling masks and other items and does not have a permit, said he’s worried. “I don’t know what I’m going to do,” he said. He lost his job at a restaurant during the pandemic, and turned to peddling items as a source of income.

Another vendor, who declined to be named, said he has a permit, and is thankful for the new changes coming tomorrow. He also started selling items when he lost his job, but the plaza got increasingly chaotic. “Society is abusing the city,” he said in Spanish. “There are robbers, illicit sales. There are also people who are honest, who want to be paid,” he said. “We need regulation.” He applied for a permit six weeks ago, and received his last week.

One man, who has been selling flowers at the plaza for seven years said he does not feel unsafe at the plaza. When asked about the man who died, he said: “If you cause problems, there will be problems.” He believes the extra police presence will be beneficial. “There will be violence if there’s no police here,” he said matter-of-factly. “If the police are here, there will be no violence.”

Salvador, 21, said he does not sell his own items, but helps “hustle” and bring traffic to the other vendors. “If you want shoes, I send you there,” he said pointing to one table. “If you want soap, you want a mask?” He gestured. “Look at this,” he said, picking up a pair of Nikes. “Beautiful.”

Salvador was upset at the police presence Monday morning, counting off all seven cops present at the plaza.

“They don’t want us to sell out here. What kind of danger can they do?” He said, referring to some of the vendors on the plaza. Regarding other vendors who have sold drugs or threatened violence, Salvador said that police “need to recognize who is doing [illegal activity] and who’s not doing it. Some people do. A lot of people … are not.”

Approved

28

By Sept. 6, 2022, Public Workers

received

61 permits

applications

3

Approved pending

Under Review

14

Refer to DPH

for food-handling permit

16

Vendors selling food that is not prepackaged will need a second permit from the Department of Public Health.

By Sept. 6, 2022, DPW received 61 permits applications

Refer

to DPH

for

food-handling

permit

16

Under

Review

14

Approved

pending

Approved

28

3

Vendors selling food that is not prepackaged will need a second permit from the Department of Public Health.

Note: To actually sell on the plaza, vendors will need a second permit from BART. Those were announced on Friday, and those permits can be found here. 

The BART permits cost $300 for the rest of the year, or $100 a month, said Christopher Filippi, a spokesperson for BART. No waivers will be offered, he added. 

Only five will be given out for each plaza, for a total of 10 at 24th Street.   

Annika Hom contributed to this report.

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Intern reporter. Carolyn grew up in Los Angeles. She previously served as a desk editor for her college newspaper The Stanford Daily. When she's not reporting, you can find her going on an unnecessarily long walk.

INTERN DATA REPORTER. Chuqin has two degrees in data journalism and she is passionate about making data more accessible to readers. Before arriving in the Mission, she covered small business and migratory birds in New York City while learning to code and design at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism. She loves coastal cities, including SF and her hometown Ningbo.

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  1. wow.those permits sound like they are gonna cost an arm and a leg.but,if it calms down the problem,whatever.what about the folks who dont sell stolen goods?are they going to get their stuff confiscated too?just for trying to make a living?

  2. Folks are anti-police until someone is stabbed to death. Horrific incident that requires police. Sorry folks, you can’t have it both ways. Just like you can’t complain about surveillance cameras and then ask if there is surveillance video of the stabbing suspect. Police are necessary. Security cameras are necessary. Permits are necessary. People are tired of having to walk in the street to get home from work. We lost the large Walgreens on Cesar Chavez and Mission because of shoplifting. Their shelves were cleaned out daily and brought to the BART Plaza to be sold. Law and order are necessary for a community to thrive with safety.

  3. I never thought this area would ever look at bad as 16th street or Civic Center BART. But it does. It’s now a playground for drug addicts and thieves. The police should clear this area of illegal vendors completely and keep it clear. The backward thinking “activists” who care more about criminals than regular people are really just a tiny minority of loudmouths who do not represent the neighborhood. Most families and working people want a safe and clean Mission.

  4. Used to think this was mission as a whole journal even defended you at Precita Arts center but can see from the Valencia bars and restaurant reviews and the number of your letters to the editor calling for more police action in a country with largest prison population in the world personally find a very different position in the murals of the Mission/Potrero and the folks who live on the other side of the economic chasm that separates Valencia daily life from the Mission Street barrio workers very basic human dilemmas. Of course the murals say it much better than any journalism can say.

  5. Thanks for the flowchart. I’m hoping someone will be checking the vendors to verify that they have receipts for the merchandise they are selling.

    1. Under the legislation approved by the board of supervisors, there is no trigger to enforce any type of proof of ownership. What BART has done is created a much stricter list of “restricted items” than was approved by the BOS.

      What the BART parameter page is sorely, sorely lacking is any type of legal text pertaining to enforcement. If I was a journalist, I’d be immediately following up on that one as it directly pertains to use of force.

      As far as I can tell, the approved SF legislation – which, unlike BART has included how the ordinance will be enforced – can be found here:

      https://codelibrary.amlegal.com/codes/san_francisco/latest/sf_publicworks/0-0-0-49502

      1. I found the the code section I had missed, which allows an “enforcement official” to request proof of ownership:

        (c) Upon request by an Enforcement Official and in accordance with Section 5.9-5(a)(5), a Vendor shall immediately provide proof of ownership or authorization to sell the Food and/or Merchandise that the Vendor is Vending.
        ******

        Still, I don’t see in “enforcement” where items can be confiscated for not being able to produce proof of ownership. But whatever, it’s all moot point now as the party at the plaza is over.

        Business licenses, commercial insurance, dual permits, monthly fees, and whatever else… hello hipster coffee, goodbye woman who ladels that warm rice drink out of a cooler.

  6. >”Note: To actually be on the plaza, vendors will need a second permit from BART. Those were announced on Friday and those permits can be found here. ”

    This should be the headline, not a note. BART has the authority to create their own ordinances, appoint their own (armed or unarmed) enforcement officers, and enforce the ordinances (aka laws) they have crafted themselves; under *threat of violence* for non-compliance.

    Ronen gets to follow through with her promise of not criminalizing vending; BART has agreed to sit on that side of teeter-totter.

    BART appointed enforcement officers have the following authority, as authorized by the PUC and under CA PC:

    CA PC 836.5.
    “(a) A public officer or employee, when authorized by ordinance, may arrest a person without a warrant whenever the officer or employee has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a misdemeanor in the presence of the officer or employee that is a violation of a statute or ordinance that the officer or employee has the duty to enforce.

    (b) There shall be no civil liability on the part of, and no cause of action shall arise against, any public officer or employee acting pursuant to subdivision (a) and within the scope of his or her authority for false arrest or false imprisonment arising out of any arrest that is lawful or that the public officer or employee, at the time of the arrest, had reasonable cause to believe was lawful. No officer or employee shall be deemed an aggressor or lose his or her right to self-defense by the use of reasonable force to effect the arrest, prevent escape, or overcome resistance.”

  7. Lol they need a bart permit too??? That’s ridiculous. Redlining happening in real time huh
    If they kick out the people that make the 24th bart plaza lively and bring up foot traffic (e.g. food vendors, flower guy), it will only make it more hostile and likely to be taken (even more) over by drug vendors. What’s not clicking???? Incentivize the vendors that have been there all along.! This whole hoopla with fences, permits and police in the name of fighting drug dealers screams of the war on drugs craze of the 80s and will only depreciate even more the Mission

    1. If this city wasn’t so anti-police, we wouldn’t have this problem. 24th and Mission is an extremely easy area to clear out with a police sweep. You can’t end drug dealing but you could easily end it there.

      It appears that the fentanyl crisis may help city residents overcome their hatred of police. But I guess we’ll see in November.

  8. Business owners have been complaining about how unnecessarily burdensome it is to do business in this city for years and years, and it’s not until a bunch of sidewalk vendors trying to sell stolen merchandise are met with the same hoops to jump through that it’s a problem? Lmao.