San Clemente Considers Tighter Restrictions for Secondhand Stores

JESSICA RUIZ, Voice of OC

San Clemente City Council Dec. 3 will discuss establishing an ordinance regulating secondhand dealer stores.


Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Youth Media program, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Digital Editor Sonya Quick at squick@voiceofoc.org.


According to a city staff report, the stores have been facing issues, including unwanted dumping of items, vandalism, and theft. The purpose of the ordinance, which includes better security plans and loading and unloading regulations, is to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the city’s residents.

A secondhand dealer is any store where at least 50% of the business’ gross sales are from previously owned personal property. In other words, the stores affected by the ordinance are antique and thrift shops. Currently, 11 secondhand stores exist in the city.

The proposed ordinance would potentially prevent new secondhand dealers from being either 100 or 300 feet from “sensitive uses” such as parks, schools, and other secondhand businesses.

No other Orange County cities have a distance requirement from sensitive uses for their secondhand stores.

The City Council asked in past meetings for the city’s planning committee to conduct more research regarding whether location requirements were necessary to address the impact of secondhand stores on the community. No evidence was found to suggest any issues stemming from proximity between secondhand stores and sensitive uses.

The city planning committee held a briefing for secondhand vendors on Aug. 21. Merchants in attendance voiced complaints that their stores had no adverse impact on the areas in which they are located, and felt no ordinance is needed.

Similar to a smoke and tobacco shop ordinance passed by the council in October, the city states this ordinance, if approved, will only affect new secondhand dealers or those that try to expand into a new zone.

The City Council will vote on the ordinance during its regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. Dec. 3. The body will meet at City Hall, 100 Avenida Presidio.