Huntington Beach sets permanent rules for street vendors, including a $268 permit fee

LOS ANGELES, CA November 28, 2018: Neftali Lopez, right, says he has been a street vendor for 5
Street vendor Neftali Lopez serves customers from his food cart in Echo Park in Los Angeles. The Huntington Beach City Council on Monday approved a permanent permit process for sidewalk vendors, with strict limits.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Huntington Beach decided to permanently lift its prohibition on street vendors Monday night as the City Council approved a formal permit process that comes with a $268 fee.

The council in January temporarily lifted the ban to comply with Senate Bill 946, which legalized street vending statewide. The law strips criminal penalties associated with vending and gives the state overriding control of the typically independent enterprises. The law also requires local governments to adopt regulations that conform to the state framework.

The temporary ordinance allowed city staff to brainstorm recommendations for a permanent ordinance. The new plan, which is nearly identical to the January ordinance, will be read a second time at a future council meeting before it goes into effect.

Under the new ordinance, street vendors must apply annually for a permit and business license, which must be displayed at all times. Permits will be nontransferable.


Some vendors also may need a state food-vending license.

Vendors’ hours of operation must be within 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., and they will be prohibited from doing business in residential zones, at the beach and in nearby areas such as Pier Plaza, downtown, parks, City Hall and along Pacific Coast Highway inside city limits. It’s unclear where vendors would be able to do business in compliance with the restrictions.

Offenders will face a $100 fine for a first violation and $200 for the second within the same year. Fines will increase to $500 for each additional violation within a year of the first.

City spokeswoman Julie Toledo said in an email last week that the city had received three inquiries about the program from interested parties. She said the city would officially start accepting applications after Monday’s meeting.


City Chief Financial Officer Gilbert Garcia told the council that the amount of the permit fee is based on 100% cost recovery for the time it will take staff to process and provide the permits.

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