Street vendors in Stanton will soon no longer be able to sell ice pops, fruits, tacos and more near childcare centers, youth centers and elderly care facilities as part of the city’s ongoing crackdown on street merchants.
Last week, city council members voted 4-0-1 to amend their sidewalk vending ordinance to ban vendors from selling within 500 feet of those types of places to keep kids from running into the streets.
Councilman Donald Torres abstained from the vote.
“I just want to ask you to reflect on this ordinance and see how we kind of just are trying to restrict all food vending broadly instead of looking at the ones that aren’t doing it legally,” Torres said at the Aug. 8 City Council meeting.
Councilwoman Hong Alyce Van said the proposed change is not about banning sidewalk vending, but limiting their activity in certain areas to protect children and elderly residents.
“If you’re in a daycare facility, and the kids want to run out and get ice cream, that’s not helpful for folks that are trying to protect them,” she said. “I just want to make sure we protect the kids that we have in our community and make sure it’s easier for daycare facilities to be able to keep our kids safe.”
Torres said it should fall on the daycare facility to ensure the kids don’t run out into the street.
Van said some facilities don’t have the money to have everything fenced off.
“There’s still plenty of places in our city where they could operate. It’s not like we’re banning it outright,” she said.
Stanton officials started to review their current sidewalk vending law earlier this year and even debated putting a moratorium on street vending.
City staff recommended against the moratorium and in June brought back suggestions on how to bolster the law.
The change to the ordinance comes as officialsin cities like Orange continue to crackdown on street vending.
Crackdowns in the region come after the passing of two state laws:
Senate Bill 946, which is aimed at decriminalizing street vending in California and limiting regulations that cities could impose on such vendors.
And Senate Bill 972, intended to remove barriers in the permitting process for street vendors.
Under Stanton’s current street vendor ordinance, vendors are already barred from selling goods within 500 feet of schools.
Torres said he fears the rules are blocking the ability for street vendors to sell in places where they can make money.
“Who buys popsicles?” he said. “Children.”
Mayor David Shawver shot back and said the city has offered vendors every opportunity to come in and conduct their business legally under city, county and state guidelines.
“I’ve passed my card out to every vendor in the city four times and I’ve got no response,” Shawver said.
Torres said there needs to be programs that incentivize vendors to license with the city like a fund that can help them afford their permits.
Shawver said the bottom line is public health and safety.
“That’s our responsibility,” he said. “That’s on us.”
Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ElattarHosam.
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