OCEANSIDE — The city is going to start regulating sidewalk vending, a venture it previously prohibited without a permit before a new state law legalizing such businesses went into effect earlier this year.
City Council introduced an ordinance that establishes sidewalk vending regulations for locations within Oceanside following Senate Bill 946, which went into effect earlier this year.
The bill legalizes sidewalk vending and limits local regulation on the venture with a goal to provide entrepreneurial opportunities to low-income and immigrant communities. Though cities can adopt regulations in sidewalk vending in accordance with the bill, they cannot prohibit sidewalk vending.
Oceanside previously prohibited sidewalk vending unless City Council issued a permit.
“The ordinance is intended to ensure the integrity of the city’s parks, beaches and neighborhoods will be maintained while allowing for economic opportunity and complying with state law,” said Financial Services Director Jane McPherson at Council’s Sept. 11 meeting when the ordinance was introduced.
Sidewalk vendors will need a business license, including insurance, as well as a California Department of Tax and Fee Administration seller’s permit and health permits from the county necessary for food vending.
Operating conditions restrict vendors to non-prohibited public sidewalks and pedestrian paths and set a minimum of four feet clearance on pedestrian pathways.
Sidewalk vendors cannot operate at the following locations:
- Within 100 feet of the Oceanside Beach
- Oceanside Municipal Pier
- Pier Plaza Area
- Pacific Street Linear Park
- Tyson Street Park
- Harbor Village
- Civic Center Plaza Complex.
Additionally, vendors cannot operate within any road median strip; within 500 feet of any public or private school or daycare facility within one hour before or after classes; within 100 feet of a police or fire station, certified farmers market or swap meet during operational hours; and within 100 feet of any park where the park operator has a concessions agreement.
Stationary vendors also cannot operate in exclusively zoned residential areas.
The regulations also dictate that vending devices cannot touch, lean against or be affixed to buildings, trees, poles or other objects. Vendors will be allowed to operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Additionally, if vendors leave their stands or carts for 30 minutes or longer, those carts can be impounded at a set $61 fee.
Enforcement is limited to only administrative citations, according to Senior Code Enforcement Officer Kirk Mundt. Penalty amounts for licensed vendors are between $100, $200 and $500, while penalties for unlicensed vendors can add up to $1,000.
“On the fourth violation, the (Business License Division) can revoke the license,” Mundt said.
Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said establishing sidewalk vending regulations is a “completely new direction” for Oceanside.
“We have traditionally been very respectful and protective of brick and mortar businesses because there is this huge investment in paying rent, maybe some people actually buy the building, and here we are with a new state law that is allowing street vendors with very few restrictions allowed,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez said she received contact from people concerned about the city’s potentially last indoor swap meet disappearing as well as possible negative impacts on brick and mortar businesses. She is hopeful that vendors will “organize” to meet in more ideal locations that won’t affect those other businesses.
Council voted 4-0-1 with Councilman Chris Rodriguez abstaining. Rodriguez wants council to consider charging additional fees to help with code enforcement.
“We need to be able to have the staff hours and time to be able to mitigate the impacts to our parks, near our beaches, and to make sure they’re not spilling grease and walking away and not cleaning it up,” Rodriguez said.
Samantha Taylor covers Oceanside, Camp Pendleton and the decommissioning San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. She earned her journalism degree from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and has previously reported for The Athens Messenger in Athens, Ohio, and USA Today in McLean, Virginia. Follow her on Twitter: @samm1son