City Council prepares to adopt new rules for sidewalk vendors

CATHEDRAL CITY — Sidewalk vendors in this community are facing new rules for their businesses as the City Council is poised to adopt an ordinance when it meets Wednesday, Jan. 25.

The ordinance has been making its way through the process this month, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, will be finalized.

On Jan. 11, the City Council introduced an ordinance to establish a sidewalk vendor ordinance. The introduced ordinance is in compliance with state law regulating sidewalk vendors and reflects the direction given by the City Council during study sessions on Nov. 9, 2022, and Dec. 14, 2022.

New Rules Coming for Cat City Sidewalk Vendors

Councilmember Raymond Gregory

At the Jan. 11 meeting Councilmember Raymond Gregory thanked Sandra Molina, Code Compliance/Development Manager, for the work she has done on the ordinance.

“It certainly was an area that needed some regulating, but we needed a balanced approach,” Gregory said. He said it is a “workable” solution that won’t run afoul of peddlers.

Sidewalk vendors may sell snacks such as ice cream, candy bars, and fruit, The ordinance prohibits vendors to sell items fireworks, alcohol, cannabis and tobacco.

Street vendors in the city will be required to have a business license and sidewalk vending permit. The permit application requires vendors to provide information like where they plan to work and whether their carts will be stationary or mobile. They will also need a permit from the health department.

Vendors will pay an annual permit fee, $192 the first year and $100 a year for renewals. Nonprofit and charity organizations will not be required to pay the fee.

Vendors may start at 7 a.m. and must close by 8 p.m. in residential areas and dusk in non-residential areas, except if they are near brick-and-mortar businesses that are open later. Only mobile carts — not stationary ones — can operate in residential neighborhoods.

Senate Bill 946, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2019, decriminalizes sidewalk vending and establishes various requirements for local regulation of sidewalk vendors. It authorizes the City Council to adopt by ordinance additional requirements regulating the time, place, and manner of sidewalk vending if the requirements are directly related to objective health, safety or welfare concerns.

The city will provide a map to permit applicants to indicate where they can have stationary carts. The map excludes areas that have public health and safety concerns like adjacent to the freeway or roads that don’t have sidewalks.

Failure to abide by the ordinance may result in a fine.  For the first time someone is caught vending without a license or permit, the fine is $250. An administrative fine of $500 will be issued for a second violation within one year of the first violation, and a fine of $1,000 for a third violation and each subsequent violation, within one year of the first violation.

Permits will expire one year after the date of issuance.

The city is creating a flyer in both English and Spanish to distribute advising them of the new rule.

The ordinance 30 days from Jan. 25 if adopted.


Image Sources

  • Raymond Gregory: Raymond Gregory
  • Fruit cart vendor: Shutterstock