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Outdoor Vending Regulations
Outdoor vending is regulated both by the City of San Jose and Santa Clara County Health Department. Below is a snapshot of the various regulations.

Food Sales

Are you selling food?

Are you selling whole, uncut, fresh fruits and vegetables?

  • If you are selling on private property, see San José’s special rules for Vendors of Whole, Uncut, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.
  • You do not need a County Environmental Health permit as long as the fruit is WHOLE and UNCUT.

Are you selling packaged ice cream products?

  • See San José’s special rules for Ice Cream Vendors.

Location: Where are you Selling?

Private Property (parking lot, a shopping center, etc.) – all vendors except those selling Fresh, Whole, Uncut Fruits and Vegetables

  • If you are going sell for more than 2 hours, you will need an Administrative Permit. Permits are issued by the San José Planning Department.
  • You must have written permission of the property owner
  • You cannot sell in Residential or Commercial Office zones
  • You may sell during the hours that the adjacent business is open, or between 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • You must have access to a bathroom and a sink for handwashing
  • Your vending area must be:

Private Property – Fresh, Whole and Uncut Fruits and Vegetables ONLY

If you are on a property in a Non-Residential Zoning District:

  • You can vend without a permit from the Planning Department if you meet the following requirements:

ü  Selling ONLY fresh, uncut, whole fruits and vegetables and no other products

ü  You must have written authorization from property owner

ü  You must have access to bathroom and handwashing facilities

ü  You may vend between 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

ü  Your selling area is 50’ from residential uses

If you are on a property in a Residential Zoning District:

  • You may vend Fresh, Whole and Uncut Fruits and Vegetables at churches, libraries, schools, and other government buildings with permission of the property owner.
  • You do not need a permit from the Planning Department if you meet the following requirements:

ü  Selling ONLY fresh, uncut, whole fruits and vegetables and no other products

ü  You must have written authorization from the property owner

ü  You must have access to bathroom and handwashing facilities

ü  You may vend between for 8 hours maximum per day

ü  Your selling area is 50’ from residential uses (except in the case of a mixed-use building)

The checklist for Vendors of Fresh, Whole, Uncut Fruits and Vegetables is in the Municipal Code under section 20.80.820 - Exception - Administrative permit: https://www.municode.com/library/ca/san_jose/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT20ZO_CH20.80SPUSRE_PT10OUVEFA_20.80.820EXDMPE.

Public Property

  • Everyone selling on sidewalks or other public property must get a permit from San José Police Department
    • Requires a criminal background check
    • Council suspended requirement for permit in 2015 during review of ordinance. Reinstated March 1, 2016

Mobile Vending (food trucks, pushcarts, etc. that are in motion)

Mobile vendors:

  • Must have permit from SJPD
  • Must move every 15 minutes
  • Must move 500’ from last spot
  • Cannot stop to vend within 500’ of a school
  • Cannot vend within 200’ of another vendor
  • Cannot trespass on private property

Detailed regulations are online here: https://www.municode.com/library/ca/san_jose/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT6BULIRE_CH6.54PEPEOR.

Fixed Location (food trucks, pushcarts, etc. that stay in one place)

  • SJPD must approve location and issue permit
  • Site size: 100 square-feet max
  • Limited to sidewalk portion of public right-of-way
  • Must be 150’ from Residential Zone or Use (except in Downtown)

Detailed regulations are online here: https://www.municode.com/library/ca/san_jose/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT6BULIRE_CH6.54PEPEOR.


City Manager's Regulations for Approved-Location Vendors on Public Property

Vendors who wish to sell in a fixed location in the public right-of-way (i.e. operate a hot dog cart on a sidewalk) need to get a permit from the police department. The City Manager's Regulations for Approved Location Vendors outline the rules and criteria for these vendors. The regulations are here.