El Monte officials to heighten regulation of street vendors
The El Monte City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution that set guidelines for the enforcement of existing laws regarding public right-of-way obstructions and fire hazards associated with street vendors.
The council aims to bolster the city’s ability to enforce local public safety laws in order to address health, safety and welfare concerns that have increased in recent years due to unpermitted vendors who sell food curbside or on sidewalks.
“We have seen the tragedy that can unfold if a vendor is encroaching the public right-of-way, as last year, a vehicle plowed into a Pomona vendor, causing death and injury,” Mayor Jessica Ancona said in a statement. “We do not want a preventable tragedy to occur here, which is why we have been taking an active approach to educate our vendors, and enforce our public safety laws to keep everyone safe.”
The resolution took effect immediately and authorized the El Monte’s enforcement officers to:
— order vendors to “cure” or remove a fire hazard or obstruction;
— issue a warning or administrative citation; and
— impound equipment that creates a fire hazard or obstruction, if a vendor fails to cure or remove the item.
Vendors can reclaim impounded equipment within 60 days, but after 60 days unclaimed equipment will be forfeited, according to the city’s announcement.
Amendments and Codes the city of El Monte will enforce include:
— 2022 California Fire Code Title 24, Part 9, Section 126.96.36.199 Gives enforcement powers to both the fire chief and chief building official; and
— California Fire Code Title 32, Section 104.5.1 allows county fire officials to authorize the El Monte Police Department to enforce the LA County Code.
— Section 307.6 of Title 32 of the Los Angeles County Code states: “A person shall not build, light, maintain, or cause or permit to be built, lighted, or maintained, any open outdoor fire or use or cause or permit to be used, any open outdoor fire for any purpose” unless they have city-or county-issued permits or are specifically exempted.
— 2017 LA County Fire Code and the 2016 California Fire Code authorizes the city to “adopt additional regulations relating to fire protection and fire safety.”
El Monte officials will also enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure that sidewalks are not obstructed.
“Any individual or business found obstructing the public right-of-way or violating the CA Fire Code without proper permitting will be at-risk of having their equipment impounded by a City Enforcement Officer,” according to the city’s announcement.
“We are proud of the culture and entrepreneurship of our vendors who are legally permitted to vend in our City. Unfortunately, we have those who do not have the appropriate permits and are not following specific operation and safety requirements,” El Monte City Manager Alma Martinez said in a statement. “This resolution serves as a crucial step in enforcing the City’s existing laws around public safety, promoting a safe and accessible environment for vendor’s and the public, and educating our vendors on the guidelines and permits required.”
Ancona added that the city has hosted workshops to educate street vendors about the permitting process.
“We will continue to support our vendors who abide by all the general laws,” the mayor said.