Dozens of street vendors rallied in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday in support of their lawsuit to overturn the city’s limits on where they can sell food, and after a hearing, they got good news.
The vendors’ suit withstood a motion by the city to dismiss the case on “a technicality,” said Dan Shimell, an attorney for the venders.
The vendors’ lawsuit hopes to overturn the city’s no-vending zones, which prevent food from being sold on the street within 500 feet of certain neighborhoods and attractions, such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“The city of L.A. has implemented no-vending zones in some of its most popular cultural and commercial areas of the city without really providing any evidence or any reason why they banned vending in those areas,” said Brandon Payet, another attorney representing the vendors.
In their lawsuit, which was filed in December, the vendors argue they have already paid for a permit, which they claim should allow them to sell anywhere in the city. City officials, meanwhile, argue that street vending could worsen congestion or cause overcrowding in some areas.
Payet admitted that “there are real safety concerns,” but added that “the city has not done anything to show that those safety concerns are directly related to sidewalk vending and that the restrictions that it has implemented on sidewalk vending are actually going to solve those issues.”
While the suit likely won’t be resolved for several months at least, the City Council on Wednesday voted to study and possibly lower the annual fee for sidewalk and park vending permits, perhaps as low as $291.
Those who have been caught selling in no-vending zones have received expensive tickets, sometimes racking up costs into the thousands of dollars.