City Council approves ordinance regarding street vendor policy | News

A proposal regarding street vendors generated some controversy and a lengthy discussion during the Fontana City Council meeting on Jan. 25.

In the end, the City Council voted 4-1 to approve an emergency ordinance which shifted the responsibility for the enforcement of policies for street vendors from the county level to the city’s Code Compliance Unit. Jesse Sandoval cast the No vote.

Proponents of the ordinance said that the vendors, who establish themselves at various locations in the city, need to obtain the proper permits to ensure that they are adhering to all necessary health and safety standards.

Some residents who spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting said the street vendors, who are trying to do legitimate work in order to feed their families, are being unfairly singled out.

“Street vendors should be treated the same as any other small business owner,” said resident Elizabeth Sena.

Mayor Acquanetta Warren said the city has received complaints from existing business owners who are “doing it right” and following all the proper guidelines but say that illegal street vendors (particularly those who sell food) are taking business away from them.

Opponents of the ordinance claimed that it is difficult for street vendors to obtain a necessary permit, but Warren said Code Compliance will work with the applicants and guide them through the process.

A message on the city’s Code Compliance website said: “Our goal is to obtain voluntary compliance, whenever possible, by communication and education, while operating in a business-like manner.”

Sandoval said he wanted the ordinance to be tabled so it could be studied further. He said the guidelines need to be more clear and that more information should be made available in both English and Spanish.

“We need to do something totally different,” he said.

Council members said they wanted at some point to address procedures for food trucks, which are in a different category than street vendors.

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