WeHo City Council Reluctantly Approves Sidewalk Vending Law

Sidewalk vendor in Oakland, Calif .

West Hollywood’s City Council voted unanimously, but reluctantly, to approve sidewalk vendors during its Monday night meeting, a move made to conform with state law allowing sidewalk vendors.

The vote was done as an urgency ordinance which takes effect immediately. That move allows the city’s code compliance officers to enforce when and where sidewalk vendors can set up shop during this weekend’s LA Pride events. Without passage, code compliance officers would not be able to issue citations this weekend for vendors who set up shop on the city’s sidewalks.

The Councilmembers made it clear they are not in favor of allowing the sidewalk vendors at all, but their hands are tied. A new state law, SB 946, which went into effect on January 1, 2019, prohibits the city from banning such sidewalk carts, but does allow them to establish regulations about when and where they may operate.

Among the particulars of the ordinance the City Council approved:

–Sidewalk vendors must get a permit from the city.

–Food carts must have a health license from the Los Angeles County Health Department.

–Sidewalk vendors only allowed on sidewalks; no alleys, no public parking lots or public parking structures.

–No sidewalk vendors allowed on median strips of roads.

–No sidewalk vendors allowed to operate between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. throughout the city.

–No sidewalk vendors allowed between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. in high foot traffic areas:

  • Santa Monica Boulevard between Robertson Boulevard and Palm Avenue.
  • Robertson Boulevard for 400 feet south of Santa Monica Boulevard.
  • Sunset Boulevard between San Vicente Boulevard and Doheny Drive.
  • Santa Monica Boulevard between Laurel Avenue and Hayworth Avenue.
  • Melrose Avenue within 100 feet of the intersection of Huntley Drive.

–No roaming sidewalk vendors (push carts) allowed in residential areas between 8 p.m. and 9 a.m.

–No sidewalk vendors within 25 feet of a valet loading zone.

–At least 200 feet between each sidewalk vendor.

–No sidewalk vendors within a block of a farmer’s market.

–No sidewalk vendors within a block of a school (public or private) during school hours on school days.

–Sidewalk vendors not allowed to sell alcohol, lottery tickets, cannabis, tobacco, electronic cigarettes or adult-oriented materials.

–Street vendors may not hook up to any water, power or gas lines while in operation.

–No lights, horns or amplified music on carts unless approved by city.

These measures do not apply to motorized vehicles such as food trucks.

The ordinance the Council passed on Monday is considered a temporary measure. City staff will return with a more comprehensive sidewalk vending ordinance based the comments the Council made later this summer.

The Councilmembers also briefly mentioned joining other cities in suing Sacramento over this new law, but will discuss that in greater detail at a later date.

SB 946 was introduced by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and signed into law in November 2018 by Gov. Jerry Brown. Lara initiated the law to help promote entrepreneurship and promote economic opportunities for immigrant and low income residents. The bill was seen as a push back against aggressive federal enforcement of immigration policies.

Fines for violation of these laws are low since the majority of sidewalk vendors are low income: $100 for first violation; $200 for second violation; $500 for each subsequent violation. Those without the needed sidewalk vendor’s permit can be fined $250 for the first violation; $500 for the second and $1,000 for each subsequent violation.

SB 946 requires the city take into account the vendor’s ability to pay the fine. If a person meets certain criteria, the city must accept payment of only 20% of the fine and can allow the person to complete community service in lieu of paying a fine.


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Jonathan Simmons
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Jonathan Simmons

I “RELUCTANTLY” read this article about sidewalk food vendors. Sounds “nice” BUT*THE HEALTH AND SANITATION ISSUES THAT COULD GRAVELY HARM OR MAKE SICK OUR OWN RESIDENTS … Even if they don’t eat at the street food carts. 1. PEOPLE WITH DOGS, there WILL BE all sorts of food product inadvertently falling on the sidewalks (by cart owners and patrons) which a dog being walked would smell and go for whatever byproduct of a once (hopefully sanitary) food/snack. Apart from street contamination, age its been there… A LOT OF HUMAN FOODS CAN. CAUSE SERIOUS HARM AND DEATH OF DOGS EAT IT!!… Read more »

08mellie
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08mellie

So….is Beverly Hills complying with this? I doubt it.

Max
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Max

Hepatitis bacon dogs anyone ??

Here’s a crazy idea, maybe the city council should actually fight for the residents of this city, join with other cities that have some basic common sense and sue the state to block this third world stupidity.

Jose
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Jose

I wouldn’t feed a stray dog from those unsanitary rolling trash cans.

AKP
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AKP

Thumbs up 👍👍👍👍👍

Larry Block
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Larry Block

doesnt matter the rules that the city puts on these vendors.. there will be no enforcement and it will be a free for all.

Randy
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Randy

We can say that about many laws and ordinances in this city, including bicycles on the sidewalk, scooters on the sidewalk, AirBnB ban enforcement, etc.. So we are kind of spinning our wheels here.

In this case, I have no problem with sidewalk vendors and think their response was responsible, even if they don’t enforce what they passed.

Code Enforcement
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Code Enforcement

The entire city could benefit from a functioning code compliance department that understands their mandate and does not behave like entitled permanent installations on the city payroll.

He
Guest
He

God can the council and rules be any more of the Nazi’s they already are!

Race To The Bottom
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Race To The Bottom

The city council did not have great choices. The concept was introduced by then Sen. Ricardo Lara, the current Insurance Commissioner and signed into law by Gov. Brown. He appears to have skillfully managed his trajectory through the system but also appears to have narrow vision and superficial goals. The broad unintended consequences of SB 946 represents a race to the bottom. There will be no need to visit the souks of the Middle East or the teeming communities of India and Bangladesh we will be cultivating that concept right here in our own neighborhoods. This bill will undoubtedly cause… Read more »

mark
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mark

Democrats. This is what you get. Turning every great city into a junkyard and crime scene, be it San Francisco, Chicago. Seattle, etc. I’m so done with this party.

mike mc
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mike mc

I’m a moderate Dem but I agree with you. I might vote Republican. This is pure insanity.

JMF
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JMF

Me too. The crap that extreme in our party is pushing through is ruining our cities.

Jose
Guest
Jose

I walked away from Democrats after I took a look at Newsome, San Francisco, Seattle and the Jaguar speed of the deterioration of LA’s quality of life under Democrats. The bend over attitude for illegal aliens while Vets and elderly citizens suffer like hell.

JMF
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JMF

I hope West Hollywood joins the lawsuit and sues Sacramento over this.

mike m
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mike m

Every city should sue Sacramento over this ridiculous law. Absurd and unnecessary.

Monica Siegel
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Monica Siegel

Hooray! I’m that rare conservative Republican, and all the babble about West Hollywood being progressive has annoyed me. But now I’m proud to see my City Council members deciding we don’t need to house more old poor people in this town. Tell them to move to Utah. We just have to find a way to get those Mexicans off the sidewalks selling tacos. The state legislature is where the liberals rule, not West Hollywood. We need to fix that. I’m proud of John D’Amico, John Duran, Lauren Meister for pushing back against the poor and those lazy immigrants. You guys… Read more »

Joshua88
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Joshua88

Why the same post for the Tara property? You are right about WeHo not being a progressive bastion , but I think you read too much into your favorite City Council members. I hope they don’t feel as negatively about the “poor and those lazy immigrants” as you do. Or that “old poor people” should move to Utah.

mike m
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mike m

I’m that rare conservative Democrat. I’m annoyed as well. The policies I’ve witnessed , have done more harm than good for most of LA. The insanity train has got to end…. Illegals, from any country, should come here through the proper channels. I think some people are afraid to voice that . Common sense has been lost or completely ignored. Time to get back to basics. Enough of the insanity and making allowances for people.

JMF
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JMF

amen.

Scott J Sigman
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Scott J Sigman

Now we have had ghost vendors. Selling electrical scooters and bikes. They still are just left lying around. The little food vendor needs the money more than the Guerrilla marketing and sales of the scooters or scooters and scooters and scooters. And bikes and bikes. How many companies do we need of them.? No one reluctantly kicked them out since they offer money to the city? And why is the city buying property around city hall when driving around has made me replace tires twice on pot holes and I just trip of the cracked side walks and curbs. The… Read more »

Joshua88
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Joshua88

Did you call regarding the sidewalks, curbs, and potholes? I thought mayors LOVE that stuff. I love that the City invested in property. One day we can vote or otherwise decide what to do with it.

Randy
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Randy

You are quite privileged, if Malibu is your exit strategy.

I’m so tired of people in this city complaining about things like this. These truly are first-world problems.

Don’t want to support street vendors? Don’t purchase anything from them. What do we expect to happen here? What kind of “sky is falling” result will we see? Same with the scooters. And a lot of things.

Like I said, first world problems.

I consider it a privilege to live here. Even if I earned my space.

mark
Guest
mark

Street vendors using cheap, ugly carts with their tacky umbrellas lowers the value of the area. It’s fitting for special events but not all year long. It all of sudden makes the area look like a ghetto. We have enough of those all over Los Angeles, we need at least one city that doesn’t feel and look like a mess. As mentioned they could have very high standard carts that are aesthetically pleasing and properly placed.

Jose
Guest
Jose

Spot on. Walk down a street and get run over by a scooter, stabbed by the homeless. Or face the hawkers from these Third World rolling disease cans.

AKP
Guest
AKP

Totally agree. Well said.

Manju
Guest
Manju

So a hot dog street vendor can set up shop right in front of a local business selling hot dogs (e.g. Kock Dog, LA Buns, etc)? This doesn’t seem fair for business owners who pay high rents, employees, and taxes to compete with a street vendor with few expenses. Maybe all businesses should just close their doors and become street vendors.