City Council committee takes up sidewalk vending

street vendors.jpg
The City is working to create local regulations to incorporate a State law legalizing street vending that came into effect on Jan. 1. Last month, a resident sent this image to <i>PB Monthly</i> to illustrate his frustration with vendors crowding the pathways in Mission Beach.
(Larry Clark)

The San Diego City Council’s Economic Development & Intergovernmental Relations Committee (ED&IR) took up sidewalk vending during its July 25 meeting, presenting draft regulations to address San Diego-specific issues stemming from a state bill.

Dubbed “The Safe Sidewalk Vending Act,” Senate Bill 946 decriminalizes sidewalk vending and establishes requirements for local regulation of sidewalk vendors. The bill has been causing some heartburn at local community advisory groups since its implementation earlier this year. (See related story, “PB reviews the scope of scooter scat at Town Council meeting”)

During the ED&IR meeting, Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s Policy & Council Affairs coordinator Conrad Wear presented the City’s recommendations for local regulations. He explained that the City’s proposed ordinance: “Establishes criteria for issuance and revocation of a sidewalk vendor permit; Establishes distance requirements to ensure accessibility and to reduce pedestrian and vehicle conflict; Regulates operations in parks and beaches; Regulates heavily trafficked sidewalks and areas of high pedestrian activity; Sets hours of operation and operating procedures in residential and non-residential areas; Requires clean and sanitary conditions within the vicinity of sidewalk vendors; Requires compliance with the American with Disabilities Act of 1990; Regulates the use of sidewalk vending equipment; Sets penalties for violations in accordance with SB 946.”

The draft regulation has not yet undergone City Attorney review.


On “heavily trafficked sidewalks,” sidewalk vending would be prohibited, and the only applicable area of Pacific Beach includes Garnet Avenue from Ocean Front Walk to Cass Street — others stretch down into Mission Beach and out to Ocean Beach.

The regulations also call for a summer moratorium in San Diego’s Shoreline Parks (Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and La Jolla); and sidewalk vendors may need to obtain an additional park sales permit to vend in Mission Bay Park, Ocean Beach Park, Mission Beach Park, Scripps Ellen Browning Park, Kellogg Park, Ocean Boulevard Park, South Mission Beach Park, and Torrey Pines City Park.

The draft also delved into requirements to obtain a permit; required distances from City features such as fire lanes, public restrooms and street closures, among others; restrictions in City parks; size requirements for standing vending tables; items prohibited for sale; violations; enforcement and more.

A number of speakers were present representing all sides of the issue.


Some called for a postponement of the vote until those affected could weigh in (a notion supported by half the committee members), others represented all areas of San Diego, from La Jolla to Little Italy and City Heights, many of whom had suggested amendments to the ordinance.

Pacific Beach Town Council member Denise Willett Friedman thanked the committee for a “job well done” and called the ordinance “well written,” in that it includes the feedback of various communities.

Discover PB executive director Sara Berns added that she supports the policy on the table because “Garnet Avenue is a Vision Zero corridor (part of the City’s mission to have no traffic-related fatalities and severe injuries by 2025) and we have worked with other organizations to promote pedestrian safety and shared mobility.”

The draft regulations likely won’t go before the full City Council until September, but a motion passed unanimously to move the draft (with amendments to come) forward to the Council for review and approval.