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San Diego's sidewalk vendors required to get permits under new ordinance

The ordinance requires street vendors to obtain permits and outlines where and when they can operate. As of June 15, only 28 vendors have obtained permits

SAN DIEGO — Sidewalk vendors in San Diego are now receiving the permits they need to operate, as the city begins enforcement of its new city ordinance regulating sidewalk and street vendors Wednesday, June 22.

Mayor Todd Gloria signed the ordinance on May 23. The ordinance requires vendors and pushcart operators to obtain a $38 permit from the city to operate at specific locations. 

The city's new ordinance will bring San Diego into compliance with a new state bill that decriminalized sidewalk vending and set parameters on how cities
regulate street vending.

According to data obtained by CBS 8 through a public records request, only 36 permits for a total of 28 businesses were issued as of June 15. Six of the 36 permits were for "roaming" permits, which allow for pushcarts.

RELATED: San Diego City Council Committee approves street vendor ordinance

WATCH RELATED: San Diego City Council Committee approves street vendor ordinance.

Food vendors must also show proof that they have a health permit from the County of San Diego. In addition, the ordinance prohibits vendors from setting up shop in residential neighborhoods or on sidewalks that are less than six feet wide. Sidewalk vendors are also restricted from operating less than 25 feet from piers and beach accesses, and 50 feet from bus and trolley stations.

Roaming vendors are allowed to operate in residential neighborhoods but only from 7 a.m. to sunset. Meanwhile, stationary vendors will be allowed to open from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

 Vendors are also restricted from operating along "high traffic sidewalks" in the Gaslamp, Little Italy, and areas in Old Town and near Petco Park.

Vending will not be allowed in Balboa Park and along the beach and bay in Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla during summer months. However, the California Coastal Commission must sign off on the ordinance before implementation.

In regards to Balboa Park, vendors there say they are worried about business now that vending will not be allowed during the summer.

“It’s frustrating and confusing and scary, honestly, when you invest your future business in a tourist market, a street vending tourist market and then they take that away from you," said Sterling McElhannon, co-owner of Sweet Lokmas, which sells Mediterranean donut holes.

Added McElhannon, “Doing business here at Balboa Park has completely taken us to another level. It’s opened a lot of doors for us. Financially our business has been able to grow and move forward. I feel like the carpet’s being pulled out from under our feet again with another confusing ordinance.

RELATED: Mission Beach residents sound off on street vendors ahead of vendor ordinance taking effect

WATCH RELATED: Mission Beach residents sound off on street vendors.

City officials predict that more than 1,000 vendors will obtain permits under the new program.

"I am happy to see the Sidewalk Vendor Ordinance that I created with
the support of my council colleagues go into effect,'' said Councilmember
Jennifer Campbell. "San Diego has long awaited these regulations that will bring vendors into the formal economy and ensure access to San Diego's public spaces for all.''

Click here to see more on the ordinance.

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