VISTA — A lesser-known state law went into effect on Jan. 1 regarding street vendors, and on Jan. 22 the Vista City Council approved its regulations.
The city is open for permit applications.
The street carts — both mobile and stationary — will be allowed on various public sidewalks and all parks, although the council limited some areas such as proximity to the Moonlight Amphitheatre. Hours of operations depend on the zoning.
For example, commercial and roaming vendors may operate between 7 a.m. and midnight; a roaming vendor can only operate in residential zones between 8 a.m. and sunset. In addition, roaming vendors in city parks are restricted to park hours, but not earlier than 9 a.m. and no later sunset, according to the staff report.
“All vendors would also be prohibited from operating on city property other than city parks,” said Tony Winney, assistant to the city manager.
Permit fees vary between $74.50 and $149 and must be renewed every year and carts must be inspected by the city. Applicants must also complete a background check.
Other restrictions include vendors must be 100 feet away from any farmers market, swap meet and schools, to name a few. Stationary vendors, meanwhile, would be prohibited from operating on sidewalks less than 10 feet in width and must be more than 200 feet away from the next closest stationary vendor.
Vendors must also comply with specific design standards set by the city, which also requires the operator to submit photos or detailed plans of the cart to the city. In addition, all carts must include an umbrella or canopy.
“There is a lot,” Councilwoman Corinna Contreras said of the limitations. “This is creating a low barrier entry for entrepreneurs, which is a good thing.
The stationary designation, meanwhile, is more of an operational definition rather than descriptive of the cart, Winney said. Those “stationary” vendors must be able to move the carts after closing, but remain in one location during business hours.
Winney said there is no limit for the number of vendors allowed and the amount is more dependent on market conditions and how many the market could bear.
Councilman Joe Green asked how priority for spaces is determined and whether those spaces would be secure after one or many years. Winney said as long as a vendor renews, they would keep their space. It would require a vendor relinquishing their space for another vendor to have the priority.
“They could relinquish it at any time,” Winney said.
Per the ordinance, vendors are not allowed to sell alcohol, tobacco, vaping equipment, weapons and pharmaceuticals, among other items.