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Valentine's Day May Not Be Sweet for Street Vendors

Posted: February 9, 2008 2:05 a.m.
Updated: April 11, 2008 2:02 a.m.
 
With Valentine's Day around the corner, the city's hoping to ensure people buy flowers and gifts from legitimate businesses, not streetside vendors.

Local florists have asked that illegal street vendors be removed from the city to protect local businesses.
"I believe the city's motto is something along the lines of 'Shop Santa Clarita and Shop Local,'" said Henrietta Norris, owner of Bloomie's Florist. "I personally believe in this motto and I spend my money in the city, as we all reap the rewards of this practice. The city gains absolutely nothing from what I believe to be illegal vending that occurs."
Especially during holiday periods, roadside vendors, who often lack the necessary permits, sell gifts, flowers and candy.
The city and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department are responding with a publicity campaign warning the community about illegal vending practices and spearheading an enforcement operation that will result in the issuance of citations for violations of the city's street sales ordinance.
"We take our local business community and their needs very seriously," Mayor Bob Kellar said. "We have directed the Sheriff's Department to enforce our city's ordinance. Additionally, the city will field five Code Enforcement Officers and three Deputy Sheriffs on Valentine's Day and the days prior to warn street vendors and issue citations to illegal vendors."
Street vending, sometimes called peddling, was first regulated in the city in 1994 as a method to regulate the proliferation of street vendors. Despite that, an increase of merchandise sold on the sides of roadways and sidewalks has been apparent throughout the community.
Local vendors are required by city ordinance to possess a valid street vending permit, and the person identified on the permit must be present to sell any merchandise. Additionally, these sales cannot impede the public right-of-way in a manner that would prohibit the free movement of our residents while walking the sidewalks or streets.
"We frequently receive calls for service and take action for illegal vendors in all areas of Santa Clarita," sheriff's Capt. Anthony La Berge of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. "I see this as an important 'quality of life' issue, where there are some very real concerns over traffic congestion and permit violations."
The Sheriff's Department and City Code Enforcement Officers will be concentrating on locations throughout the city and looking for vendors, ensuring that each has a valid solicitor permit, State Resale License and has the legal permission to sell from private property.
"Some shops are set up on vacant lands and the owners are unaware of these vendors and have not given any permission for these street sales to occur on their property," said David Peterson of the code enforcement office. "Our officers will be also checking to make sure that the use permits issued for the business location specify the items being sold at the location.
"In essence, a gas station will not be permitted to set up a tent and sell teddy bears if their permit specifies that they are limited to gasoline sales."


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