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Santa Barbara City Council votes to make Sidewalk Vending Ordinance changes before adoption

City council favor changes to proposed sidewalk vendors ordinance

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- Santa Barbara City Council members considered a Sidewalk Vending Ordinance on Tuesday, but chose not to vote for it, as is.

Instead, city council members voted 6-to-1 to make four changes suggested by Councilmember Meagan Harmon.

Harmon suggested the ordinance allow a variety of identifications to be accepted when vendors pay the $25 dollar business tax to get a business license.

She also suggested no fines the first year, and a warning before the first fine to allow for ordinance education.

And finally, she suggested the city report back with specific examples of outreach to vendors.

She want people know it is a pathway from an informal business to a legal business.

Harmon said she agreed with the Santa Barbara City Attorney Ariel Calonne who said it is a pathway to gain access to credit and other benefits of being a legal business.

Cologne said the $25 fee is a business tax, not a fee, that would go to the general fund.

Vendors would have to display their fee receipt.

Public Works and Parks staff, rather than police, would enforce the ordinance.

They would make sure vendors know they can't obstruct other brick and mortar businesses.

Vendors would also be required to stay at least 500 feet away from special events such as the Santa Barbara Arts and Craft Show along Cabrillo Blvd.

Eggs filled with confetti known as Cascarones are a popular vendor item during Old Spanish Days.

Council members said vendors who pay the $25 fee will be able to do business in designated areas along State Street.

Food vendors would also have to follow health and safety guidelines.

Oscar Gutierrez was the lone no vote.

"I feel the city has a reputation of not being business friendly and I feel that this would just further prove that and I just want people to feel comfortable to start a micro-businesses here," said Gutierrez.

But Mayor Randy Rowse said the state will not allow vendors and push carts to be outlawed.

The former restaurant owner said he was ready to vote yes without any tweaks.

Council member Mike Jordan said, "It legitimizes and puts in place a pathway for what you see out in the street already, continuing to serve our community with goods that are already wanted by our community."

The ordinance will be brought back to council in two or three weeks for adoption.

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor of News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here

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