Open Letter to Local Newspapers
In regards to the article “Council Wrestles with Problem of Too Many Licenses” that appeared in you paper on July 6, 2010, the Central Avenue S.I.D. Management Corporation notes that the issue of itinerant and, while we are at it, milk licenses are not limited to downtown but affects all of Jersey City.
To start, we thank City Council President Peter Brennan and Councilman Steven Fulop for tackling this important matter. However, the ideas for a new ordinance presented in the article needs to center around the fact that it is counterproductive to renew the extremely high number of licenses when the number of storefront vacancies throughout the city has reached a ten year high. Simply, CASID supports a new city ordinance that combines the ideas to dramatically reduce licenses while prohibiting them from stationing within commercial areas such as S.I.D.s/ business districts. This is what Jersey City’s business community needs.
Currently, food trucks and ice cream (itinerant and milk) licenses are prohibited from nearing food establishments by 300 ft. Given there is a food establishment nearly every 150 to 200 ft in commercial districts, any new ordinance should clarify that these licenses are not permitted within them. Allowing licenses to remain in one location beyond the 20 minute time limit will only weaken nearby businesses that pay the increasing costs of doing business here (i.e. water/ sewer rates, property tax/ rent, labor costs, business and parking fees, etc). Frankly, these licenses not only undermine local commerce, but also the millions of dollars the City spends each year on economic development projects designed to attract entrepreneurs and create jobs. Small businesses are still the backbone of the U.S. economy and more are needed to fill the empty storefronts throughout the City. A series of actions are required to make Jersey City once again a competitive “business friendly” environment and properly addressing this issue is a step that direction. In 2006, the City Council amended a City Ordinance to prohibit itinerant licenses from Journal Square’s SID and peddlers from all four SIDs. The ordinance is a great service to the community but does not go far enough. The City Council now has another opportunity to combine their efforts to further Jersey City commerce when it needs it the most.
To conclude, we would like to thank the Jersey City Police Department for code enforcement related to this matter in recent weeks. Specifically, we thank Chief Thomas Comey, North District Commander Phil Zacche, and Community Relations Officer David Calton for their persistent efforts to keep Jersey City safe and orderly.
CASID President Michael Yun and Board of Trustees