On Deadline, Pasadena Moves to Conform Local Street Vending Regulations with New State Law

Passage of State vending regulation means Pasadena must alter its existing street vendor regulations before new law goes into effect January 1

Published : Tuesday, December 4, 2018 | 5:38 AM

With the pressure of a new state law hovering over them, the City Council Monday directed City staff to draft a revised ordinance regulating street cart sales.

While Pasadena has allowed such sales for a number of years, a new state law—SB 946—passed in September, will create new statewide regulations which pre-empt Pasadena’s codes are substantially different.

SB946 will allow, among other things, stationary and roaming sidewalk vendors in commercial areas and in parks, and allow roaming sidewalk vendors in residential areas.

The new State law will also prohibit local jurisdictions from regulating sidewalk vendors’ hours of operations differently than other businesses on the same street and will prohibit restricting vendors to specific areas of the city, unless those restrictions are directly related to health, safety, or welfare concerns.

The new law will take effect on January 1, 2019.

Such is the ordinance’s expected impact, that the Public Safety Committee, meeting Monday afternoon before City Council, shied away from voting on a recommendation on the ordinance and passed the decision to the Council for a vote.

“This is troubling,” said Councilmember Margaret McAustin. “We’re not like L.A. or other big cities. This is troubling for our commercial districts.”

“This needs to be discussed by the whole Council,” said Public Safety Committee Chair and Vice-Mayor John Kennedy.

Mayor Terry Tornek said, “This is very daunting. This is the state preempting local ordinances, with this ‘shot clock’ approach. ”

The new law also reduces violations of the municipal code to an administrative fine, and allows local jurisdictions to implement a sidewalk vending program which can include business license and other fees, and can restrict vending based on health, safety, or welfare concerns.

While there were a number of questions on the subject, the new law would apply to charter cities like Pasadena, according to the staff report.

“I think the Council should go back to state legislators,” said Nina Chomsky of the Linda Vista-Allendale Residents Association. “This is another example of the state overreaching.”

Chomsky also voiced concerns about the increasing number of illegal vendors outside the Rose Bowl on event days.

Erika Foy, President of the Madison Heights Association, told the Council there are a number of concerns in the areas of safety, as well as sidewalk width issues.

Old Pasadena Management District President and CEO  Steve Mulheim agreed with Foy, saying, “I share those concerns. And there are also environmental and economic concerns.”

Added Mulheim, “We’re at critical mass, with congested sidewalks on weekends.” Mulheim noted that “one busker” with an audience can clog the sidewalks, forcing people to walk in the streets.

“This is a gamechanger,” he said. “This will be a real challenge.”

The full Council voted to prepare a draft of new regulations which conform the City to SB946.

Pasadena City staff will now need to prepare new ordinances on a number of changes regarding the decriminalization of penalties, where vending may occur, vending at Special Events, ADA access issues, and vending in the public right of way.

There are also new Health, Safety and Welfare considerations, as well as licensing and permitting regulations to be established, said the report.

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