After receiving resident concerns regarding the health and safety of local sidewalk vendors and their products, the City of Santa Paula adopted a local ordinance prohibiting unpermitted sidewalk vendors. This new law is in compliance with Senate Bill No. 946 (“SB 946”) based on its direct objective of prioritizing resident health, safety and welfare. Currently, the Santa Paula Police Department is involved with the enforcement of this ordinance. However, the City of Santa Paula is working to shift enforcement efforts from the Police Department to a more focused group of city staff that can verify the sidewalk vendors’ compliance with the City’s various health and safety regulations.
Unless properly regulated, sidewalk vending poses a serious risk to public welfare. These risks include impacts to pedestrian traffic and sidewalk accessibility as well as safety and public health concerns from potential unsanitary food preparation. There is significant concern regarding the safety of minors with the crowded sidewalks sometimes causing children to walk in busy streets. The passed ordinance seeks to mitigate possible safety and health concerns through implementing regulations and requirements for vendors in Santa Paula in accordance with provisions of SB 946. As part of the new regulations, vendors in Santa Paula must:
- Ensure a minimum of a four feet sidewalk clearance for disability access.
- Maintain proper access to buildings, driveways, parking areas and fire hydrants.
- Not obstruct the view of the road or safety signs for drivers.
- Not operate near freeway exits or entrances to promote the safe flow of traffic.
Strict regulations about the location and placement of the sidewalk vendor carts will not only enhance resident safety, but it also minimizes the City’s financial risk and personal injury liability, the cost of which would be borne by Santa Paula’s taxpayers. The ordinance also allows for better facilitation on behalf of the City and promotes communication between City and sidewalk vendors.
“The health and safety of Santa Paula's residents is always our first priority,” said the Community and Economic Development Director James Mason. “After hearing the residents’ concerns, the City reviewed the potential health and safety issues, and determined that the risk was too great to leave unaddressed. This ordinance is the best way forward for our residents, the vendors and our city as a whole.”
Residents of Santa Paula have previously voiced sanitary and safety concerns regarding the food that is sold by sidewalk vendors. Additionally, sidewalk vending has been linked to human trafficking rings and worker exploitation. Passing this ordinance helps city staff to ensure that sidewalk vendor businesses are operating legally and safely. Thus, the ordinance requires all sidewalk vendors to submit identification as well as obtain a business license from the City, vendor permit and a County Environmental Health Approval Certification in order to obtain an official permit from the City of Santa Paula to conduct business.
Violations of the City’s sidewalk vending permit requirements will result in a $100 fine for the first offense, $200 fine for the second within one year of the first offense, $500 fine for each additional violation within one year of the first offense and a possible revocation of a permit upon the fourth or subsequent violations. Vending without a sidewalk vending permit may result in a $250 fine for the first violation, $500 fine for a second violation within the one year of the first offense and a $1,000 fine for each additional violation within one year of the first offense.