Costa Mesa to roll out new sidewalk vending ordinance

An ice cream vendor pushes a cart on the sidewalk around Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles. The Costa Mesa City Council will take up a proposed sidewalk vending ordinance Tuesday to comply with new state standards.
(File Photo / Los Angeles Times)

Following the track of some neighboring cities, Costa Mesa is set to take up a new sidewalk vending ordinance at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The city currently has an ordinance that “generally prohibits sidewalk vendors in most areas of the city,” according to a city staff report. That statute would be scrapped and replaced with one that complies with a state law passed about a year ago that eliminated bans on sidewalk vending and made it legal statewide.

The state law allows cities to restrict vending based on “objective health, safety or welfare concerns.”

Costa Mesa’s proposed ordinance would require sidewalk vendors to pay for a permit. It also would prohibit sidewalk vending anywhere in the city between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. daily, unless within 500 feet of a business that is legally operating during those hours. Vending on sidewalks or pathways in or directly adjacent to residential areas would be prohibited between 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. daily.


Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach have passed ordinances that technically allow for sidewalk vendors, but with tight restrictions. In those cities, vendors are limited to certain hours and locations.

Like its neighbors, Costa Mesa would restrict sidewalk vendors from perching near entrances to residences, businesses or public buildings, including the Civic Center.

The proposed ordinance states that “the conduct of the sidewalk vendor will not unduly interfere with traffic or pedestrian movement or tend to interfere with or endanger the public peace or rights of nearby residents to the quiet and peaceable enjoyment of their property,” or “unduly interfere with normal governmental or city operations.”

It would limit sidewalk vendors from selling inside Fairview Park, a restriction “necessary to protect the natural resources and recreational opportunities, as well as scenic and natural character of this park,” according to the staff report.


Vending also would be restricted at other parks, as well as at the Orange County fairgrounds.

Sober-living home

A sober-living home’s permit application has made its way through the circuit to the City Council, where it will be considered Tuesday.

Fellowship House, which has operated at 2412 Orange Ave. for more than four years, applied for a special use permit nearly three years ago. The facility houses 10 residents, plus a resident manager.

But it ran up against a city buffer rule prohibiting such facilities from operating within 650 feet of one another in residential areas. The permit application was denied by the director of development services and the Planning Commission, and Fellowship House appealed to the City Council. City staff recommends that the council uphold the commission’s decision.

Sober-living home operators have had a difficult time obtaining permits in Costa Mesa since the city introduced two ordinances in 2014 and 2015 placing restrictions on group homes. Facilities operating in the city at the time of the ordinances’ adoption were required to apply for permits to stay.

Tuesday’s council meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.

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