Board member Bob Evans has been tracking SB 946, a state bill that took effect Jan. 1, 2019 relaxing restrictions on sidewalk vending. He noted SB 946 is now proposed to be amended to allow nonprofits and faith-based organizations to temporarily open up for business in City parks to provide economic relief during the pandemic.
“SB 946 basically has nullified any ability for the City to enforce sidewalk vending,” Evans said. “We’re hoping to enact some restrictions and prohibitions to remove sidewalk vending from our parks and coastline beaches.”
Evans pointed out sidewalk vending is alive and well in Scripps Park, on Pacific Beach’s boardwalk, and at Children’s Pool.
“There’s nothing we can do in light of this pandemic, with the need for communities, in general, to come together and support local businesses,” noted Evans adding, “I’m not saying put in the white flag. Just take a step back. I don’t know what else to do.”
“We want to be following the developments with vendors in the park,” said board president Ann Dynes. “We all care about the natural state of our parks. It should be on our radar.”
Board member Debbie Beacham warned that park vending threatens public park use.
“We have always used the parks for the public, and sometimes when it becomes commercialized, the public doesn’t get a chance to walk quietly through a park,” she said. “On the flip side of the coin, people are really looking for places to go walking and for outdoor exercise. If we take parks and turn them into commercial pockets, we’re taking away exercise opportunities.”
“I agree 100% with you,” replied Evans. “I just don’t know how to combat this.”
“It’s not appropriate in our little, limited amount of parks that we have here to commercialize them,” answered Beacham.
Colleague John Shannon noted scooters are back at Children’s Pool displacing some bicycle parking.
Mary Munk of La Jolla Shores pointed out kayak and surf camp operators pay significant fees to operate on beaches and in parks, whereas sidewalk vendors do not.
Board member Phyllis Minick added T-shirt vendors have also returned to the public plaza overlooking Children’s Pool.
Another board member, Ken Hunrichs, characterized commercial vending activities during the pandemic as an “extraordinary circumstance. We need to encourage the City to bend just a little to allow some businesses, like gyms and yoga studios, to use the parks. Small-businesses are really struggling to even survive,” he said.
Dynes said she would put sidewalk vending on the group’s next agenda on Aug. 24 for further review.
Switching topics, board members, and property owners aired problems with numerous large fallen trees at Pottery Canyon, a relatively undeveloped public park with a hiking trail and a historic pioneering pottery site off Torrey Pines Road. Neighbors Willis and Claudia Allen discussed problems with flooding, fallen trees, and canyon safety and access.
“This is a major safety hazard,” pointed out Diane Kane, president of La Jolla Community Planning Association, which makes land-use recommendations to the City. “We have historic resources out there. Ignoring this is just inexcusable.”