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Council closer to restricting peddlers

• Library design contract approved

Posted: June 25, 2008 1:03 a.m.
Updated: August 26, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 

 

Tougher restrictions on peddling and soliciting in Santa Clarita got preliminary approval from the Santa Clarita City Council on Tuesday, with final clearance planned for an upcoming meeting.

City officials are overhauling the existing code that the staff has said is vague and lacks the teeth necessary for enforcement.

The new restrictions would apply to peddlers, a name given to vendors who sell products from trucks, mobile carts and on foot.

The new rules would also apply to solicitors, known as door-to-door sales people.

New rules prohibit peddling and soliciting on the public right-of-way, with the exception of peddling from vehicles.

Violations of the code would result in a misdemeanor, up from an infraction in the existing code.

The new ordinance comes in response to Sheriff's Department and community concerns about aggressive solicitors and worries about the safety of the food stored and prepared by peddlers.

Peddlers and solicitors must not engage in aggressive or overly persistent behavior, must leave the premises immediately if asked to do so and must possess individual permits, rather than permits issued to an entire group of people.

In other business, the council approved a contract for a firm to design a new library in downtown Newhall where Main Street and Lyons Avenue meet.

Preliminary ideas for the library include a history walk, possibly a small park, landscaping and a plaza on site.

"There could really be some striking features that could make the building an icon for downtown Newhall," said Richard D'Amato, principal of LPA design firm.

Councilwoman Laurie Ender said "this library will be the place that brings people to downtown Newhall."

Several Newhall business owners told the council Tuesday that they want the city to complete the planned landscaping - or streetscaping - on Main Street first, rather than pouring funds into the new library.

The improvements are all part of the city's plan to revitalize downtown Newhall. The city plans to streetscape Main Street, but the city is only planning to streetscape one block this year.

Victor Feany, who owned Newhall Hardware before it went out of business earlier this year, said the businesses in downtown Newhall would benefit more from the streetscaping all of Main Street, rather than bring in a library.

"I don't want to see other businesses go through what we had to go through down there," he said. "It's imperative that you don't look at this as just another project. Look at this as giving life to downtown Newhall."

City Manager Ken Pulskamp said that because new commercial developments are planned for Main Street, the city wants to wait so that developers are the ones paying for the streetscaping.

Councilwoman Marsha McLean said that the library would be a boon to business in downtown Newhall.

"(The library) is going to bring more business to the business owners than trees," she said.

The council also voted to give final approval of the 2008-2009 city budget, which reached $165 million.

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