WEST HOLLYWOOD—On Monday, June 3, the West Hollywood City Council was asked to review its request to alter the city’s vending laws to be in compliance with SB 946, a bill that was signed by California Governor Jerry Brown. The bill allows sidewalk vending and focuses on the following criteria:

(1) Sidewalk vending provides important entrepreneurship and economic development opportunities to low-income and immigrant communities.
(2) Sidewalk vending increases access to desired goods, such as culturally significant food and merchandise.
(3) Sidewalk vending contributes to a safe and dynamic public space.
(4) The safety and welfare of the general public is promoted by encouraging local authorities to support and properly regulate sidewalk vending.
(5) The safety and welfare of the general public is promoted by prohibiting criminal penalties for violations of sidewalk vending ordinances and regulations.

West Hollywood will still have the authority to control some sidewalk vending including those who push carts, stands, and are stationed on public sidewalks. The city council noted during Monday’s meeting that the proposed ordinance is tailored to address the particular concerns raised by vendors operating in the flow of pedestrian traffic, with special attention to regulating the activity on sidewalks that are notably congested and pose risks to the public safety.

According to the Public Works Department memo, restricted vending locations

1) Consistent with the requirements for peddlers and solicitors, sidewalk vendors are restricted from operating within one block of a certified farmers’ markets and other specially permitted events, as well as one block from school grounds when school is open to students.

2) For reasons of public safety, the proposed ordinance restricts vending in areas of the City with a high concentration of night-life venues, during the hours when pedestrians crowd the streets, such as along Santa Monica Boulevard, between Robertson Boulevard and Palm Avenue, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.

3) For reasons of public safety, the proposed ordinance also restricts sidewalk vending within 25 feet of any on-street valet loading zone and prohibits vendors from operating within 200 feet of another sidewalk vendor to avoid congestion and to maintain adequate pedestrian access to the public right-of-way.

SB-946 states:

“This bill would prohibit a local authority, as defined, from regulating sidewalk vendors, except in accordance with the provisions of the bill. The bill would provide that a local authority is not required to adopt a new program to regulate sidewalk vendors if the local authority has established an existing program that substantially complies with the provisions of the bill. The bill would apply these provisions to a chartered or general law city, county, or city and county.

The bill would require a local authority that elects to adopt a sidewalk vending program to, among other things, not require a sidewalk vendor to operate within specific parts of the public right-of-way, except when that restriction is directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns, and not restrict sidewalk vendors to operate only in a designated neighborhood or area, except as specified. The bill would authorize a local authority to, by ordinance or resolution, adopt additional requirements regulating the time, place, and manner of sidewalk vending, as specified, if the requirements are directly related to objective health, safety, or welfare concerns.
The bill would also authorize a local authority to prohibit sidewalk vendors in areas located within the immediate vicinity of a permitted certified farmers’ market and a permitted swap meet, as specified, and to restrict or prohibit sidewalk vendors within the immediate vicinity of an area designated for a temporary special permit issued by the local authority, as specified. A violation would be punishable only by an administrative fine, as specified, pursuant to an ability-to-pay determination, and proceeds would be deposited in the treasury of the local authority.”
No person will be allowed to partake in “sidewalk vending without first obtaining a business
license pursuant to Chapter 5.08 and this Chapter,” notes the West Hollywood City Council in its notes from the June 3 meeting.
Written By Tameara Lewis and Casey Jacobs