La Jolla group opposes new law allowing sidewalk vending
Published - 02/08/19 - 08:31 AM | 3488 views | 0 0 comments | 54 54 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In a beachfront community where commercial advertising of any kind is frowned upon, news of the impact of SB 946, which creates a new regulatory framework for sidewalk vending at the local level, comes as a shock to some.

That was the reaction of La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. at its January meeting. LJBP board member Phyllis Minick, who just spearheaded an eight-year effort to rehabilitate the plaza above Children’s Pool in La Jolla, was especially perturbed by the new law that relaxes regulations for sidewalk vendors. 

Insisting SB 946 could despoil all the hard work put into reviving Chidren’s Pool Plaza, Minick read a long letter to the planning group on Jan. 28. She requested the group write a letter to the City supporting the removal and banning of vendor tables at the restored Children’s Pool Plaza site.

Excerpts from Minick’s letter, read: “Statistics show that several million visitors come here yearly. The more than $700,000 of our tax money spent last year to widen the sidewalk, increase seating and improve landscaping are wasted when the open space is blocked by vendors. … SB 946 refers mostly to food vendors, so does not affect the CP Plaza in that respect, at least not yet.

“However, SB 946 contains some prohibitions that ‘do’ favor this protest: vendors are not permitted in areas of a ‘farmer’s market,’ which we have nearby; vendors are not permitted when interfering with health, safety, or welfare, which their contribution to overcrowding does; vendors are not permitted in areas that are zoned exclusively residential, as is our entire shoreline’s street front. Inappropriate legislation can and should be overturned.”

Added Minick in her letter: “As our Community Plan states, La Jolla has retained its special community image and attraction to visitors through its diversified architecture, street design and protection of its scenic shoreline. Even the state agencies, California Coastal Conservancy and California Coastal Trail, of which our shoreline is a part, protects, restores, and enhances coastal resources.”

A Senate Floor Analysis passed along by Nick Serrano in the office of Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-78th), provides a breakdown of SB 946. In summary, SB 946 does ‘not’ allow local jurisdictions to:

-Mandate that sidewalk vendors operate only in specific parts of the public right-of-way – unless there is a health, safety, or wellness concern – or in a designated neighborhood or area.

-Prohibit sidewalk vendors from selling in parks – unless they are stationary sidewalk vendors (vend from a single location). Additional regulations can be put in place with regard to this provision if it is necessary to ensure the public’s use and enjoyment of natural resources/recreational opportunities, or to prevent an undue concentration of commercial activity.

-Restrict the number of sidewalk vendors permitted in the jurisdiction.

Under SB 946 local jurisdictions can:

-Adopt additional requirements regulating time, place, and manner of sidewalk vending.

-Require sidewalk vendors to submit information regarding their operations (name, address, description of merchandise, etc.)

The bill also prescribes a violation fine schedule.

Assemblymember Gloria voted to support SB 946, noting: “I recognized that this activity was happening in communities across California. Ignoring that fact placed consumers at risk and limited prospects for small-scale entrepreneurs.

“By legalizing some of these commercial transactions, these entrepreneurs could come out of the shadows and adhere to health and safety regulations – meaning, consumers are better protected. It also has the potential of allowing these micro businesses to grow into small businesses and beyond. The potential for these individuals to create new jobs and economic activity was another key consideration when approving the bill.”

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