Tuesday, December 11, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 40

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on October 17th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 33 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 33

Santa Maria to require vendor permits in parks


Vendors hoping to make some extra cash in Santa Maria’s parks are now required to apply for permits through the city and, in some cases, pay annual fees of up to $273.

 All food and beverage trucks or bicycle vendors, fitness and training programs, educational classes, and merchandise sellers are no longer allowed in parks without a permit from the city, according to a city press release. The decision to implement a permit system was enacted in August, when Santa Maria City Council members approved the Concession Application and Permit Ordinance for city parks.

Vendors are now subject to the city’s permit application process, which Recreation and Parks Management Analyst Dennis Smitherman said includes filling out a simple one-page document. He said applicants must also provide proof of insurance, a driver’s license for mobile merchants, and a Santa Barbara County health permit for food trucks.

While the application process is free, according to Smitherman, permit holders are obligated to pay annual fees of $91 for education and fitness providers and $273 for mobile bicycle, push cart, and motorized retailers. Another $91 will be charged for each additional registered vehicle.

The fees, which Smitherman said are being subsidized by the city, will go toward regulating vendor activities and maintaining parks highly impacted by vendors.

“We want vendors to be able to afford to sell in parks,” Smitherman said. “We’re trying to keep it as simple as possible so we can ensure that people conduct business in parks.” 

Vendors have done well in parks, and according to Smitherman, there is an average of four merchants available in any given park on any day.

“We noticed a lot of them may not have been using the safest practices when it comes to food,” Smitherman said. “And that’s what really triggered this.”

Safety of parkgoers is the key intent of this ordinance, Smitherman said, and Recreation and Parks wants citizens to trust that vendors are insured and in compliance with the health department. The permit system also allows Recreation and Parks to ensure that an equal number of vendors will be at each of the 23 impacted parks. 

Although the ordinance is in effect as of now, Smitherman said Recreation and Parks will work to educate vendors on the permit requirements before disciplinary actions are taken, although serial offenders could be ticketed. He said the city hopes to have the ordinance fully working by next summer.

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