In a rushed Monday evening meeting, West Hollywood’s City Council temporarily approved an ordinance legalizing street vendors within its city limits. West Hollywood reluctantly follows the Safe Sidewalk Vending Act, or SB 946, which requires California cities and counties to develop their own local rules when regulating street vendors. The new changes go into effect immediately.
The timing of the City Council’s vote coincides with Pride weekend, where hundreds of thousands of people celebrate Los Angeles’ annual Pride Parade, which makes its way down Santa Monica Boulevard. The parade is only a small part of the festivities, with plenty of parties and opportunities for bar hopping. Now street food vendors are officially part of the weekend as well, but with a new set of rules. Compliance officers can now issue citations to vendors without proper permits. According to Wehoville, the new ordinance requires the following:
- Street vendors cannot operate between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
- All street vendors must acquire a permit
- All food vendors must secure a health license from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
- Street vendors are restricted to sidewalks, which means that alleys, median road strips, public parking lots, and public parking structures are off-limits
- Each street vendor must remain 200 feet away from one another
- In a move designed to protect brick-and-mortar businesses, West Hollywood’s ordinance bans vendors from operating in high-traffic areas between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., including Santa Monica Boulevard between Robertson and Palm Avenue; Robertson’s busy corridor 400 feet south of Santa Monica Boulevard; Sunset between San Vicente and Doheny; Santa Monica Boulevard between Laurel and Hayworth near Connie & Ted’s; and the Urth Caffe on Melrose Avenue within 100 feet of the intersection of Huntley.
- No roaming street vendors are permitted in residential areas between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m.
- All street vendors must remain at least 25 feet away from a valet loading zone, one block away from schools on school days, or one block away from a scheduled farmer’s market
- West Hollywood must approve any lights, horns, or loud music on street vending carts
If not following these rules, citations start at $100 for the first violation, $200 for the second, and $500 thereafter. If caught operating without a required vendor’s permit, it is $250 for the first violation, $500 for the second, and $1,000 thereafter for each violation.
WeHo’s new ordinance is only temporary as the city will create a more permanent street vendor plan this summer. This approach to street vending is a major contrast to how West Hollywood rolled out its own cannabis regulations in 2018. The latter effort was thoughtful and proactive, and considered to be the most organized in Southern California. Wehoville also mentioned that West Hollywood is a reluctant partner with SB 946, as councilmembers indicated they were interested in joining other California cities in a lawsuit to protest the law.