Board sets hearing to consider regulations on sidewalk vendors

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Diane Sieker photo

The Riverside County board of supervisors scheduled an Oct. 22 public hearing to consider a range of regulations that would prohibit sidewalk and mobile food truck vendors from operating during certain hours and within defined distances of schools, fire hydrants and other objects in unincorporated areas of Riverside County.

The Transportation and Land Management Agency submitted the regulatory proposals to amend Ordinances 499.15 and 852 in order to remain in compliance with changes in state law established in September 2018 under Senate Bill 946.

The bill largely focused on sidewalk vendors, providing that counties and municipalities cannot outlaw the pushcart and wagon variety sellers, but instead they must have a regulatory scheme on the books that gives the street-level entrepreneurs an opportunity to conduct business.

The TLMA added mobile food truck vendors to the county’s new proposed regulatory framework for consistency.

“We’re trying to establish guidelines to keep (vendors) and the public safe,” agency spokeswoman Patty Romo told the board. “This is for health and safety purposes.”

Under the proposed regulations, sidewalk vendors – including those with ice cream stands – would be required to procure permits from the county before they sell anything. In addition to a basic vending permit, those offering any type of food and beverages would need to obtain an Environmental Health Permit to show they’re compliant with handling procedures.

Sidewalk vendors would also be barred from operating within 500 feet of a freeway entrance or exit, within 200 feet of an access point to a police or fire station, as well as a medical facility, within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, within 5 feet of the edge of a curb and within 15 feet of another vendor.

The county would further prohibit sidewalk vendors from conducting business on a number of streets due to potential hazards in the eastern and western county regions. The list of public rights of way will be part of the revisions considered by the board Oct. 22.

Both mobile food truck and sidewalk vendors would be responsible for waste disposal around their conveyances, and they could face fines for failure to maintain clean premises.

Both types of vendors would further be barred from operating within 500 feet of a school between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., and both types would be prohibited from using amplification devices to advertise their products, thereby disturbing the peace.

Mobile food truck vendors and roaming sidewalk vendors would be permitted to operate between sunrise and sunset.

Penalties for violations could run anywhere from $100 to $1,000, depending on the frequency and severity, according to the proposed regulations.