Council Approves New Street Vending Regulations in Time for New Year's Day

New state law supersedes Pasadena codes and relaxes vending rules; City hopes to tighten regulations for special events

Published : Wednesday, December 12, 2018 | 5:38 AM

Sacramento eased the rules on street vending, but Pasadena wants to tighten them up in time for New Year’s Day.

Adjusting to new state regulations that have relaxed rules regarding sidewalk vendors and food sellers, the Pasadena City Council Monday unanimously approved modifications in the City’s existing vending ordinance to limit sidewalk vendors and food sellers during major events at the Rose Bowl.

The passage of Senate Bill 946 (SB 946) in September created new regulations supporting the sale of food items and other merchandise by sidewalk vendors, and prohibits local jurisdictions from imposing limitations on hours of operation that are any more restrictive than other businesses in the area.

SB 946 also prohibits criminal penalties and criminal prosecution for violations.

“This is not something that the city went looking for,” said City Manager Steve Mermell. “We want to preserve our rights. We want to make sure that come January 1, which is coming up rapidly, that we can still enforce some regulations.”

Explained Mermell, “We are taking a comprehensive look at all regulations as they pertain to vending, whether it be for merchandise or food sales,” adding pointedly, “the state is undermining our ability to regulate vending.”

City Attorney Michelle Bagneris said California cities are working to understand how to deal with the new pre-emptive state law.

“Cities are trying to get a handle on the proposed regulations and how far things can go,” she said. “We are going to look further into how better to address the potential impacts, and limit those when staff returns early next year.”

The modifications passed on Monday will be reviewed again in additional phases, said Bagneris.

Pasadena currently regulates sidewalk vendors through various provisions in its municipal code, including Title 8, Health and Safety, and Title 12, Streets and Sidewalks.

According to the City Attorney’s staff report, the proposed ordinance reviewed and passed Monday amends various sections of the Pasadena Municipal Code, and adds Chapter 12.10 (Sidewalk Vendors) to the Pasadena Municipal Code to regulate sidewalk vendors in compliance with Senate Bill 946.

The proposed city ordinance bans vendors within certain parks, near farmers’ markets and swap meets, and near temporary special events. The ordinance also bans stationary vendors in residential areas. The ordinance also makes changes to Title 8 (Health and Safety) related to food vending.

The modified ordinance states, “Specifically with regard to large events held in the Central Arroyo and the Rose Parade, particularized public safety concerns arise, due to the size of the crowds and the concentrated traffic patterns associated with such events, which justify not only a ban on sidewalk vending around such events, but also the immediate seizure of carts and goods when vendors violate laws, including said ban, within specified areas.”

Significant changes to the existing ordinance will regulate merchandise and food sales at major events such as the New Year’s Day Rose Parade, and the Rose Bowl game. Concerts and additional games or events, known as “displacement events,” would also be regulated.

The areas affected would be the Rose Bowl and adjoining parking areas B, D, F, G, I, K, and M.

The modified ordinance noted that vending would be prohibited, in general, from the time the parking lots open, until two hours after the event. UCLA game parking opens six hours before the shows, and parking lots for concerts are open four hours before the event.

For the Rose Bowl game, vending would be regulated, beginning December 31, the day before the game. The ordinance would also prohibit vending at “minor” temporary events, such as the float-building activities at Rosemont Pavilion prior to the parade. Vending would be prohibited two hours before the event until two hours after the event.

Rose Parade vending would be prohibited along the parade route, from Noon the day before, until Midnight New Year’s day.

The ordinance will return next week to the City Council for a second reading, and work on the second phase of the ordinance is scheduled to begin in January.

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