The Santa Barbara City Council gave initial approval for a plan to regulate sidewalk vending.
The council-revised ordinance will be redrafted by the city attorney and will need to return back to the council again.
The ordinance before the city council during Tuesday’s agenda meeting was touted as a way to create more economic and entrepreneurial development opportunities for micro-enterprises, Jason Harris, Santa Barbara’s economic development manager, said. But it would allow Santa Barbara to establish specific distance requirements, regulations for operations in residential and non-residential areas, and more.
A 2019 state law enabled sidewalk vending with limited government regulations, but Santa Barbara’s city code conflicts as it prohibits the commercial use of sidewalks, Mr. Harris told the council.
Under the regulations, non-food vendors would just need a business license, set at $25. Those that sell food would also need a permit from the county’s health department. Both required licenses and permits would need to be displayed.
A roaming sidewalk vendor would be allowed to operate in residential areas from 8 a.m. to 30 minutes past sunset. Stationary vendors would be confined to non-residential zones only.
Distance requirements between vendors and brick-and-mortar businesses as well as between various vendors are also established in the ordinance.
Councilmember Alejandra Gutierrez expressed concern about the amount of bilingual staff within the city’s finance department, which would regulate the licenses, who could properly help potential vendors.
“If we have street vendors, mainly it’s because there’s a language barrier, and with that comes not understanding how to navigate the system, the feeling of being overwhelmed,” Ms. Gutierrez said.
Council members expressed concern about what forms of identification could be provided to obtain the business license and how fees would be levied without proper education of the community.
Councilmember Meagan Harmon’s motion changed the ordinance to expand acceptable ID documentation to obtain a license, allow a warning to be issued to errant vendors before a fine is levied, place a one-year moratorium on fines as the ordinance is implemented, and require city staff to issue a report on the status of the ordinance after one year.
The council voted 4-1 to propel that revised ordinance forward with Councilmember Oscar Gutierrez the lone dissenter.
In other business Tuesday, the city council also adopted a proclamation recognizing Black History Month in February for Santa Barbara.email: firstname.lastname@example.org