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Here’s How LA City Council Wants to Handle Street Vendors

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Yesterday’s proposal set in motion potential new laws that impact street vendors across LA

Street vendor in Sixth and Bonnie Brae, Los Angeles.
Street vendor in 6th and Bonnie Brae, Los Angeles
Wonho Frank Lee

The Los Angeles City Council approved a new proposal for new street vending rules yesterday. The Council’s been busy lately around this subject, and that’s because Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 946, or the Safe Sidewalk Vending Act in September. SB 946 essentially decriminalizes street vending on January 1, but there’s a caveat. The new law requires cities to create their own rules concerning the sale of street food, and the Council hopes to put citywide practices in place before the law goes into effect.

The Council voted 14-0 to approve this proposal, although it’s been working on an improved street vendor solution since 2013. But everything changed with SB 946’s passing, which requires California cities to follow state rules. During the meeting, the Council determined several key items:

  1. Vendors are limited on where they can operate. There will be no-vending zones near high-volume tourist areas like Staples Center, the Hollywood Bowl, Dodger Stadium, the Banc of California Stadium, and on Hollywood Boulevard, which would jeopardize a lot of the bacon-wrapped hot dog vendors who sell outside these events venues.
  2. SB 946 only allows the city to restrict vending based on health, welfare or safety concerns. The Council proposed a two-to-one vendor per block restriction.
  3. The Council also requested that LA’s City Attorney draft an ordinance with the Bureau of Street Services and Parks and Recreation. This ordinance requires both departments to submit rules and regulations by November 15, leaving enough time for the Council to take action and be in compliance by January 1.
  4. About those permits. Cities throughout the state must build their own street vendor permit or regulatory process, which will be required by the new state law. At this time, the Council did not choose to adapt a permit or regulatory system, according to NBC-4. City departments will study and report back to the Council with the pros and cons of either option.

On KPCC this morning, City Council member Curren D. Price emphasized street vendor education as part of the process. He stated the city will help vendors become more aware of the new rules and regulations with a year-long educational effort.