San Diego City Council

San Diego City Council Approves New Regulations for Street Vendors

The proposed ordinance includes partial bans of street vendors in high-traffic places like public parks, bays and beaches, and requires vendors to obtain a business license and vendor permit

NBC Universal, Inc.

The San Diego City Council committee advanced a proposed ordinance that cracks down on street vendors at beaches and boardwalks, and other high-traffic public spaces. It will go before the full council for adoption in March.

The proposal is being called a compromise between business owners and street vendors that also protects access to popular public spaces like beaches, parks and the bays. It would establish a framework for regulating of the street vendors.

Many business and merchant associations have been complaining for years that the vendors are negatively affecting their businesses. They say the street vendors sometimes sell the exact same items, and operate without the same overhead costs like rent or taxes.

The plan being considered would include a partial ban of street vendors in Balboa Park and parts of Little Italy, reports NBC 7's Artie Ojeda.

The plan includes partial bans of street vendors in high-traffic places like public parks, bays and beaches, as well as destinations like Old Town, the Convention Center, Pechanga Arena during sporting events and certain streets in busy areas like Little Italy.

The ordinance requires vendors to obtain a business license and vendor permit. It would define specific distance parameters around statues, art displays and other vendors.

During the public comment portion of the virtual meeting, a Mission Beach resident voiced his support for the ordinance because public places that he and his neighbors used to enjoy, have now become “tourist carnivals.” Vendors and the associations that represent them say this ordinance would unfairly punish migrant, low-income and communities of color pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities that put their foot in the door of the local economy.

District 2 Councilmember Jennifer Campbell, who is behind the ordinance, stressed the importance of reaching a balanced agreement between vendors and business owners. She referenced her family history in which a relative started in business as a street vendor.

"After many conversations with community members, street vendors and all stakeholders, I am glad we are on our way to implementing balanced regulations and providing clarity for everyone involved in the street vending conversation," Campbell said in a statement. "This ordinance will help provide the appropriate support to vendors while promoting equitable access to our public spaces and protecting the public health and safety of our communities. Thank you to my committee colleagues for approving this item today and for everyone who added their voice on this important topic."

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