Rules for Coastal Sidewalk Vendors Go Into Effect

The regulations stipulate that merchants must, among other things, place their tables at least 15 feet apart.

The San Diego City Council overwhelmingly agreed in November to reinforce a law that forbids vendors from setting up shop in parks or on the sidewalks near the city’s beaches. A coalition of regional town councils from Ocean Beach to La Jolla lobbied for weeks before the decision was made.

One vendor who spoke with NBC 7’s Joe Little says he supports the legislation but wishes there was a middle ground.

An earlier city ordinance reinforced the laws against unauthorized street vendors, but San Diego was unable to enforce such laws in a coastal area that was under the authority of the California Coastal Commission. The city council’s action in November nullified that state control.

There are now established guidelines on where merchants can physically set up, such as a 15-foot distance from another vendor, a 50-foot distance from a significant transport hub, and a 100-foot distance from any sidewalk or street closure. In addition, sellers in San Diego must pay $38 annually for a licence to sell their goods.

Artie Ojeda of NBC 7 reports that dozens of pop-up tents used by street vendors line the boardwalk at Mission Beach and occasionally obstruct views of the ocean.

In part, City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell said in a news release on Friday, “I want to thank the community and the Coastal Commission for their cooperation in advancing this policy forward to include the beaches and coastal regions.

Before the law took effect, it was not uncommon to see so many sellers stacked one on top of the other that the view of the ocean may be completely obscured. Though the regulations become effective on Friday, they won’t be put into action until February 1. As a result, nothing will change overnight.

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