FOX 5 San Diego

Balboa Park, Gaslamp see 1st day of new vendor rules

SAN DIEGO — Balboa Park, usually busy with a line of street vendors, was quiet on Wednesday after a new ordinance went into effect, prohibiting the salespeople from operating in the area.

The ordinance does not allow vendors to set up in high-traffic areas anymore, as designated by this map.

“It does need to be regulated, it’s kind of a free-for-all sometimes and that’s not good, it needs to be organized a little bit better,” Eric Bell, the owner of a small business called Bell and Moon, told FOX 5.

Bell sells Turkish towels in Mission Beach. He said he applied for a vendor permit Tuesday evening and is waiting to hear back. Where Bell set up Wednesday, at Mission Beach, is not under the ordinance as of now. The city is waiting for a review by the California Coastal Commission.

“We want to comply, we just need clarification,” Bell said. “Why, instead of fixing the problem, organization, oversight, did you just cut us out?” he said, addressing the city.

San Diego City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell spearheaded this ordinance and said the state of California is requiring the city to set up regulations for vendors.

“There are regulations now for the vendors, so they know how much space they have,” Campbell said. “If they sell food they have to have a permit for that through the county health department.”

Campbell said the street vendors will be required to have a permit and business license, and pay taxes.

“We want the vendors to be able to become part of our economic life,” Campbell said.

If vendors do not get a permit, the city can force them to stop selling and fine them up to $1,000. Campbell said the city has already budgeted $5 million to enforce these new regulations.

“We love our city, we love what we do, we want to be able to afford to live here,” Bell said.

Coastal areas are still waiting to see their version of the new rules.

“The ordinance, while passed by the City Council, has yet to go into effect in the city’s coastal zone,” Alexander Llerandi, with the Coastal Commission, wrote in an email to FOX 5.

“The City just this past week submitted the ordinance to the Commission’s San Diego office, so our review is still in the very early stages, and we currently have no time estimate on when this ordinance will be brought to public hearing. Thus, at this time, the vendor ordinance is in effect only outside the coastal zone.”