La Jolla Parks & Beaches, small businesses at odds over proposed ban on sidewalk vending

December 9, 2021

The La Jolla Parks & Beaches group has penned a letter to the San Diego City Council asking for a ban on sidewalk vending in coastal park areas.

The City Council is set to review a proposed sidewalk vending ordinance next week. On Dec. 6, the La Jolla Parks & Beaches met online to discuss the letter, the La Jolla Light reported.

However, representatives of businesses that vend in costal park areas spoke out in an effort to discourage the board from banning the practice.

“We urge you to specifically write into the ordinance the prohibition and enforcement of sidewalk and street vending along our coastline parks and beaches,” the draft letter reads. “Maintaining our treasured natural landscapes and beautiful waterscapes is important so that everyone can enjoy these scenic vistas and recreational opportunities.”

However, not everybody agreed with a blanket ban on sidewalk vending. Some encouraged regulations instead of a prohibition, and at least one area resident advised that the board “reach out to the whole community and seek their opinions before you write a blanket statement.”

Sidewalk vendor Paola Martinsen said that the board should take “everyone’s interests into consideration.” She suggested regulations that take into account the impact on green spaces, as well as an approval process analyzing vendors and their merchandise.

The dust-up between sidewalk vendors and proponents of the ban comes in the wake of Senate Bill 946, a state law that passed in 2018 stating that any vendor regulations created by city governments have to focus on health and safety problems and not limiting economy competition.

For example, the law bans local governments from prohibiting all vendors or bringing criminal penalties against them.

About the author: Mike Peterson is a freelance journalist and writer based in North San Diego County. He’s written and worked for a number of local media outlets, including the San Diego Union-Tribune, the North Coast Current, and the Oceanside Blade.

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