Sidewalk vendor law taking effect

State mandated sidewalk vending regulations enacted in San Jacinto

Photo by Jacob Doane
A sidewalk vendor named “DogODog” sets up shop outside of a San Jacinto City Council meeting.

■ Jacob Doane / Contributed

SB 946, the law passed in 2018, protects the activity of street vendors in the state and allows them to sell on the streets. However, under this new law local government has the authority to hold these vendors to standards of health, safety, and public wellbeing.
On Jan. 1 this law came into effect. This bill had previously been proposed as an option to the San Jacinto City Council, but was declined. However, with the State ordinance issued, local governments have been superseded. Some of the major changes are as follows: A restriction on stationary sidewalk vendors within residential zones, a requirement for vendors to obtain a health and seller’s permit, meet safety codes, have established operating hours, and have a minimum four feet (48”) of accessible path of travel for pedestrians.
Without this ordinance, sidewalk vendors could setup at any time of the day without fear of citation. Also, before this ordinance the city had no ability to guarantee the sanitation of the carts or the food. The vendors could also block both vehicle and foot traffic.
Alongside these restrictions that can be placed by the city, the law also prohibits the cities from limiting the number of vendors, location of vendors, and prevents them from placing restrictions on mobile sidewalk vendors. While some things are set in stone, the local governments do have the decisions on the severity of restrictions and whether or not to add additional restrictions that may be considered optional to the State.
According to Councilman Alonso Ledezma, “These vendors aren’t going away so we should issue a license and let them pay their taxes.” Many of the local vendors are praising this change and the applications for their businesses to become officially backed by the San Jacinto Government have already begun to come in. For more information about the changes to the bill see: Senate bill 946 chapter 459.

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