Sidewalk vendors

Sidewalk vendors are now governed by regulations in Banning.

A year ago the State Senate passed a measure that limited a city’s ability to regulate sidewalk vendors.

Without an ordinance in place, cities cannot adequately address health or safety concerns of the general public when it comes to regulating sidewalk vendors, nor restrict their operation hours, and cities have little legal recourse to prevent such vendors from obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic, according to the city.

Senate Bill 946 places limitations when it comes to cities prohibiting sidewalk vendors.

Banning wants to ensure that, while sidewalk vendors are not prohibited, they are regulated as to coexist with others that must use sidewalks and right-of-ways, and an amended ordinance addresses public areas such as parks, noting that “City Council finds that restrictions on sidewalk vending in public parks is necessary to ensure the public’s use and enjoyment of natural resources and recreational opportunities, and to prevent an undue concentration of commercial activity that would unreasonably interfere with the scenic and natural character” of such locations.

Prior to the Jan. 14 Banning city council meeting, non-motorized “vehicles” such as pushcarts, stands and displays were simply required to have business licenses and, if applicable, food handler’s cards.

Now the city dictates that vendors are allowed to operate no closer than 30 feet away from intersections, must be at least 20 feet away from the nearest fire hydrant, electric transformer or “anything related to emergency or public infrastructure functions of the city,” and must be at least 20 feet away from any driveway.

They cannot block ADA access, and cannot operate in front of a residence.

They cannot operate within 200 feet of a permitted farmer’s market.

Such vendors must not open operations until a half hour after the sun rises, and must conclude a half hour prior to sunset.

Vendors need to keep their area clean, and not leave behind trash or debris, and must provide receptacles for customers’ waste.

The city has now amended its municipal code to address sidewalk vendors.

The city will not charge for applications that, once approved, are good for a year, and must be renewed annually.

Councilwoman Colleen Wallace wanted to know how long the process is for an applicant to get a sidewalk vendor’s permit; community development director Adam Rush promised that permits can be approved at the counter in city hall.

Wallace also wanted to know if the intermittent ice cream cart or hot dog vendor would become a target by code enforcement.

Rush assured her that, as long as vendors are not causing a problem, there would not likely be an issue with the city, but as far as city staff is concerned, “We are not intending to roam” the streets searching for noncompliant sidewalk vendors, Rush said.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

Staff Writer David James Heiss may be reached at dheiss@recordgazette.net , or by calling (951) 849-4586 x114.

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