Friday, May 1, 2015

VSA Opposes Legalization of Street Vending on City Sidewalks

Today the VSA forwarded the following letter to the City Council's Economic Development Committee, which is considering a proposal to legalize street vending on City sidewalks throughout the City.  The VSA called for any street vending to be by local option of adjacent property owners.

Venice Stakeholders Association
May 1, 2015

Councilman Curren Price, Chair,
and Members, Economic Development Committee
Los Angeles City Council
City Hall
200 N. Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA  90012

Re:  Street Vending CF#13-1493

Dear Councilman Price and Members of the Committee:

I am writing to indicate the opposition of our organization to the proposal to legalize street vending on the City’s sidewalks and in its parks.

Venice residents already face extreme challenges from vending in the Venice Beach Recreation Area and from the complete occupation at many places in Venice of its sidewalks by transients.

Vendor wares are continuously strewn about and/or stored in the Venice Beach Recreation Area (our beach park) and in the adjoining commercial and residential areas.

Farther inland, sidewalks along entire blocks are at times impassable to pedestrians, even though these blockages violate the American with Disabilities Act.

The lack of current enforcement by the LAPD and parks officials of existing ordinances has significantly degraded the quality of life of nearby Venice residents to the extent that our organization and several individual plaintiffs are currently suing the City of Los Angeles and County of Los Angeles for maintaining a dangerous public nuisance along the Venice Beach Recreation Area.  The noxious behavior of so-called “artist” vendors represents one aspect of this nuisance. Based on the past inability the LAPD and City Attorney’s staff to enforce regulations governing these existing “artist” vendors and the frequent practice of these vendors to sell drugs under the guise of their artistic offerings, we are very concerned that the city will not be able to adequately enforce and regulate street vending if it is legalized.

The Venice Stakeholders Association is dedicated to civic improvement.  The VSA supports slow growth, protection of the limits of the Venice Specific Plan, neighborhood safety, better traffic circulation, increased parking for residents,
neighborhood beautification projects, historic preservation, habitat restoration and protection of coastal waters.

We join with other neighborhood groups that have opposed legalization of street vending due to a host of problems associated with the proposal:

  • Overlapping regulatory responsibility and gaps in enforcement between departments

  • Increase in trash and food waste and offensive odors

  • Lack of any limits on locations and/or zones where permitted

  • Lack of City resources/staff for enforcement of permit compliance

  • Obstruction of public right-of-way and loss of scarce sidewalk space for pedestrian and handicap use.

  • Potential for ADA violations

  • Lack of hot water for food vendors for hand washing

  • Unfair competition with brick and mortar stores

We would propose that any proposal to legalize street vending include affirmative opt-in language; i.e., all Los Angeles communities would be automatically excluded from the ordinance until a community affirmatively opted in.  The opt-in would be at the block level, not the neighborhood council level; i.e., the property owners on any block proposed for street vending or the property owners adjacent to any park proposed for vending would have to indicate approval by 2/3rds signatures upon City petitions for opt-in to occur. 

I would ask that this letter be placed on Council File #13-1493

Thank you for your consideration of our views on this matter.


Mark Ryavec

Mark Ryavec, President

cc:  Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilman Paul Krekorian, Councilman Jose Huizar, Councilman Gilbert Cedillo, Councilwoman Nury Martinez and Councilman Mike Bonin