Former Gov. Brown’s street vendor bill forces Avalon staff’s hands on food carts

CATALINA ISLAND—Crescent Street, known as Front Street by locals, might be seeing a few new street vendors in the future due to bill passed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 17, 2018.

The bill, known as SB 946, decriminalizes street vending on sidewalks. Members of Avalon’s City Council were less than thrilled about this since city staff, in the past, took measures to avoid overcrowding by street vending.

Brown’s mandate decrees California cities can no longer ban vending in parks, cities cannot determine where vendors operate (unless there is a health, safety or welfare concern) and vendors are no longer required to ask local business owners for permission to sell competing goods.

Dan Huncke, Community Services Director, said at the Jan. 15 Avalon City Council: “[This is] a little bit of the wild, wild west here.”

In June 2018, council members had rejected a proposal by Jerry Dunn, who filed a permit to sell Scoop’s Frozen Lemonade from a cart near Green Pleasure Pier. In a report to council members, one of the reasons for the rejection was due to public outcry that the vendor would be competing with local ice cream shops near the water that pay high rent costs.

Council member Pam Albers mentioned the city of Los Angeles might be taking measures against the bill and recommended that Avalon should consider looking into options for “no vending zones” on Front Street.

Council members reluctantly approved a resolution for sidewalk vendors in Avalon for the purposes of having some guidelines in place, but scheduled further discussion in the future for a more comprehensive program regarding street vendors.

Vendors wishing to operate on Catalina would need to submit name and contact, business place, a seller’s permit, Avalon-approved business license, encroachment permit, show proof of liability insurance and proof of compliance with Los Angeles County Health and Safety Department.

At this time it’s unknown whether vendor sales will vastly impact local businesses in Avalon or whether it will be an opportunity to expand revenue. For more information, visit cityofavalon.com.

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