Mission Beach residents, frustrated by the growing number of sidewalk vendors on and around the boardwalk, are demanding the city take action and enforce a municipal code dating back to 1987.
“What we’re asking is that the city enforce a law that’s on the books,” said Mission Beach City Council President Larry Webb.
Webb was supported by several dozen Mission Beach residents at a rally Tuesday morning. They were holding signs that read, We Want the Park Back” and “Overrun With Street Vendors.”
As residents gathered, street vendors set up their pop-up tents, preparing to sell hats, blankets, jewelry and more. Visitors to the grassy area south of the Belmont Park roller coaster cannot see the ocean because the view is blocked by vendors.
City Council directs the city to enforce San Diego City Code 63.50, which limits the use of Mission Beach Park to recreational uses in grass, picnic areas, public open spaces, public parking lots , public recreation and meeting facilities. It specifically excludes retail and commercial uses except in the historically rehabilitated Plunge building and that serve park and beach visitors, such as restaurants, fitness centers and the like, according to the city council.
“There shouldn’t be any sales here whatsoever,” Webb said. “Families only.”
The city of San Diego’s new sidewalk sales regulations are set to go into effect June 22, but they won’t apply to beach communities, without Coast Commission approval, which has yet to be announced. been done.
“These people don’t act like entrepreneurs,” said Tony Felice, who is affiliated with Don’tTrashMissionBeach.org. “The contractors would have assembled and organized in a few months. They would have a designated representative. They would be self-sufficient. They would be proud owners. They would clean up, but instead go to our website and see the piles of trash who stay on the ground. I’m angry/”
As upset locals go after street vendors for everything from rubbish to crime, a female street vendor says she has been harassed and threatened.
“I feel discriminated against and I feel intimidated,” said Leticia Torres, who displayed a vendor license and ID badge. “Sad, why? Because I want to work. I want to work. We don’t bother anyone. If I’m blocking the walk, I need a ruler. If they want to give us a rule, I respect the rule.”
Until the rules are enforced, residents fear the problem will get worse.
“I guarantee you: if they don’t start enforcing this, come here on the 4th of July, every square inch of this weed will be covered by a street vendor,” Webb said. “Every square inch of it.”
Webb said if the municipal code is not enforced after June 22, the city council will file a formal complaint with the Coast Commission.
“I worked hard on the sidewalk vendors ordinance to control an unregulated market and provide opportunities for vendors,” District 2 Councilmember Jen Campbell said. “I will be working with the district attorney’s office. the city and city staff to review these concerns.”