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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on February 23rd, 2021, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 52 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 21, Issue 52

Solvang approves regulations for sidewalk vendors without community input

By Karen Garcia

Solvang adopted rules for future sidewalk vendors during a Feb. 22 City Council meeting, citing sidewalk accessibility and social distancing concerns, but the decision lacked public feedback.

City Manager Xenia Bradford said she proposed the regulations as an urgency ordinance because the city’s current sidewalk vendor code doesn’t comply with Senate Bill 946, which went into effect in January 2019. The bill established statewide rules for vending in public parks and rights of way, limiting cities in their regulations of sidewalk vendors unless a city adopts specific regulations “directly related to objective health, safety, and welfare concerns.” 


REGULATING VENDING
Sidewalk vendors can set up shop in Solvang, but only outside of the business district and with all the necessary permits.
PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM

According to City Attorney David Fleishman, the intent of the legislation was to encourage small business owners who might otherwise have barriers to entry into doing business “to allow them to set up mobile vending carts on public sidewalks.” 

During the meeting, Fleishman said some the city’s concerns include unregulated sidewalk vending, blocked sidewalks, a lack of sidewalk access for people with disabilities, and the possibility of a large number of vendors in city parks. 

According to a staff report, sidewalk vendors are currently permitted to operate in locations that don’t create a safety hazard and ensure trash collection, among other provisions. Under current city code, these vendors are prohibited from operating in the central business district and in streets. 

The proposed urgency ordinance enhances current rules by clarifying that sidewalk vendors are required to obtain and display a sidewalk vending permit and business license, carry adequate levels of insurance, and obtain a state tax certificate as well as any necessary Santa Barbara County health approvals and licenses. 

Under this ordinance, approved permits would last up to 12 months. No more than five permit holders are allowed in the city’s parks; vendors are not permitted to operate on specific narrow sidewalks in the central business district that includes Copenhagen Drive and Mission Drive.

Bradford said the city has experienced few issues with sidewalk vendors; however, city staff has seen an increased interest in street vending in recent weeks. 

No one commeted on the agenda item, which Councilmember Jim Thomas said made him feel uncomfortable voting in favor or against the ordinance without “having a feel from our business community.” 

However, Councilmemeber Robert Clarke didn’t seem to think it was an issue.

“I would think it would be a no-brainer. You’re asking if a restaurant is OK with a cart across the street and him selling food,” Clarke said. “I think they would be in favor of what we’re doing right now.”










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