SAN DIEGO – The Mission Beach Town Council along with the Mission Beach Precise Planning Board filed a formal complaint with the Coastal Commission regarding the enforcement of the city’s vendor regulations.

According to the town council’s president, Larry Webb, the complaint asks the Coastal Commission to issue a cease-and-desist order to the City of San Diego to stop the retail activity at Mission Beach Park.

Webb said in 1987, voters approved a municipal code that banned “all retail and commercial uses for all grass, picnic, public parking, and recreational areas of Mission Beach Park.” The complaint filed Monday asks the Coastal Commission to require the city of San Diego to enforce the 37-year-old municipal code.

Webb said on a weekend there is usually around 100 vendors at the park covering grass areas where families used to be able to enjoy the beach. He said more vendors have shown up in the last two years.

“Our beef isn’t with the vendors, it’s with the City of San Diego, not enforcing the municipal code, not protecting the public access to this beach,” Webb said.

The city is implementing a new vending ordinance citywide but is not enforcing it in Mission Beach Park, even though there is already an existing municipal code covering Mission Beach Park.

Municipal Code 63.50, which dates back to 1987, says “Expressly excluded are retail and commercial uses in…grass, picnic areas, and public open space.”

“Though the City Attorney is aware of the existing ban in Mission Beach Park, the office has for unexplained reasons chosen not to enforce it,” the release from Mission Beach Town Council detailed Monday. “We believe that the city of San Diego has violated the California Coastal Act and the city’s municipal code for the last several years by allowing Street Vending which is an obvious retail use to take over Mission Beach Park.”

“I was a tourist when I first came and now I’m a local, and I love it,” Jennifer Hall said, who now lives in Mission Beach. “I think that it gives a great experience for people that come down here.” 

“I just think it’s extremely inconsiderate and stressful for everyone that is trying to make a living,” one vendor who did want to be identified said. “You have to stress and worry about whether you are going to be able to come and have the right to earn a living for yourself, most of the people out here have their business license, they pay their taxes, they just want to make an honest living.” 

The Coastal Commission confirmed Monday it received the complaint and was in the process of reviewing it. The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comment Monday afternoon.