Sidewalk vendors in Santa Maria could be facing some new rules due to a proposed city ordinance.
Currently, the Santa Maria Municipal Code does not regulate sidewalk vending except within its parks, but that might change.
"What the city is trying to do is trying to provide a regulatory framework that both allow an entrepreneurial spirit to have people sidewalk vend here but also protect our local business,” said Thomas Watson, Santa Maria City Attorney.
What this means is vendors will need to have licenses and permits approved by the city. Their location would also have to be approved by the city to avoid any conflicts.
"Like folks in wheelchairs and folks who have disabilities because the sidewalk is not very large, so that's another reason of if you are going to be operating from a fixed location, we can coordinate and help,” Watson said.
Many vendors tend to set up near a freeway ramp to attract a bigger crowd, but with the new proposed ordinance, that will no longer be allowed.
The ordinance states vendors will not be able to operate within 500 feet of a freeway entrance or exit.
For vendors like Magdalena Samoya, this new ordinance could lead to some struggles.
"I do have concerns because this means I will no longer be able to attract a big crowd if I'm restricted to certain areas,” Samoya said.
This is currently Samoya's only source of income but she says she understands and will comply if the ordinance is passed.
"It makes me want to cry. I just don't want to lose my source of income so I will continue to follow what needs to be followed if things change,” Samoya said.
The ordinance will be presented to the Santa Maria City Council on Tuesday, January 5, and will go up for a vote two weeks later.