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SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO | Community News Focus

Mobile Vendors Win Reforms Under New Ordinance


After months of negotiations with street vendors who sued the city, the City Council this week gave tentative approval to revisions in the ordinance that governs how people may sell wares from vehicles.

"It's taken quite an effort, but we've finally come up with something that we're all happy with," City Atty. Richard K. Denhalter said.

The new ordinance allows vendors to move their vehicles every hour, rather than every half-hour as the old law had dictated; to pick up trash within 25 feet of their carts, rather than 50 feet before; and to sell on Sundays.

It also allows vendors to operate longer hours from April to October--8 a.m. to 8 p.m.--but limits their selling during winter months: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The previous ordinance was adopted in October 1994 to answer complaints mainly from the Capistrano Villas and Casa Capistrano condominium projects.

But in August 1995, after 15 citations were issued to several vendors, five sued the city, alleging that the ordinance violated their constitutional rights. A Superior Court judge granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting the city from enforcing the law.

If the council gives final approval to the new ordinance on a second reading, it would take effect in June, Denhalter said, and the restraining order would be lifted.

"We may find a few things need changing as we go along," he said. "But at least we have a set of rules everyone has agreed upon."

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