Riverside’s City Council late on Tuesday evening made final adjustments to the city’s street food vendor ordinance and will be voting on it in an upcoming session.
If passed, the most significant addition to the ordinance would allow applicants to use documentation other than their social security number in their application, which would make the city compliant with the state law. Other new regulations include restrictions on where food carts can be placed.
Elizabeth Ayala is a Riverside resident and spoke positively of the ordnance adjustments at the council meeting. She said most vendors are immigrants or Latinx and that the ordinance was a path forward for the community. She spoke of the city’s actions for Latinx people and said, “We need material gains, not just words. We need more economic opportunity, not just ceremonial resolutions.”
Many residents also spoke in opposition, including Marlene of Riverside. She said she didn’t oppose street vendors but opposed them popping up everywhere. She used the example of several vendors being out on the corner of Lincoln and Washington.
Marlene also brought up a common opposing point concerning sanitation and station cleanliness, saying, “They can’t relax the rules for street vendors, and not relax it for everyone. If we start that, where will we end? And why is this fair to the consumer?”
Under the past and proposed ordinance update, vendors would still be required to have a Riverside County Health Permit.
Councilmember Gaby Plascencia has been one of the leading advocates for the new changes and said, “You know they’re a part of our community, they’re taxpayers, they own homes here, their children attend our schools, and why are they less deserving to feed their families than brick and Mordor restaurants?”
According to Gary Merk, Riverside’s Code Enforcement Manager, city staff will bring back a revised version of the ordinance at an upcoming meeting. The ordinance update is expected to pass.