The Santa Barbara City Council is updating ordinance 5.32.035 which covers mobile vending businesses like food trucks. Adoption is anticipated for early 2016. You can read the proposed ordinance online at Here are some highlights:

  • The City Council finds that it is in the interest of the public health, safety and the general welfare of the community that time, place, and manner restrictions be established with respect to the operation and location of mobile vending vehicles or any non-motorized wheeled container, such as a wagon or pushcart upon any City street.
  • No person shall stand, park or operate any [vending] vehicle within or from the public right of way at the following locations: those streets bounded by and including: Castillo Street, Micheltorena Street, Garden Street, and Cabrillo Boulevard and on Milpas Street from the intersection of Milpas and Quinientos to the intersection of Milpas and Canon Perdido.
  • It shall be unlawful to sell or offer for sale any food or beverage from any pushcart on any public street, including parkways or sidewalks, within the City.
  • No vendor shall stand, stop or park any vehicle, from which merchandise, food, or other items are sold or displayed or offered for sale, barter or exchange, on any portion of any street, alley, sidewalk or public property within the city for a period of time that exceeds sixty minutes at any one location. Any vending conducted at a location within five hundred foot radius of any other location used in that same day by the same vending vehicle shall constitute one single location.
  • Mobile food vendors on private property shall be located and operated in compliance with the following standards: Mobile food vendors may only operate in non-residential zones, on lots developed with non-residential uses. Shall not exceed one truck per day per parking lot. Maximum three hours per day per parking lot. No lot may have a mobile food vendor onsite for more than ninety days total in any twelve-month period.

Food truck owners are concerned. “Mostly it seems they want to restrict hours, where we can park because of traffic concerns and what is perceived as a threat to public safety,” says Michael Gardner owner of The Burger Bus. “They will require us to move after a specific amount of time which would be less than existing posted time limits, and essentially keep us out of the Funk Zone even if on private property.”

The public is invited to comment on the proposed draft Mobile Vending Ordinances at a community meeting on December 3, 2 p.m. at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center 1118 E. Cabrillo Boulevard.

Reader Primetime tells me that the next meeting of the New Zoning Ordinance Joint Committee will be held on December 7, 2015 and continue on December 14, 2015. I am not sure about where the meeting will be held, assuming City Hall.

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  1. Christine says:

    Wow. That effectively wipes out food trucks at all the wineries and breweries popping up downtown.

    There used to be “food truck night” at San Marcos High School. Is SMHS in the City? Or County? This would wipe that weekly event out too. Wasn’t that partially a fundraiser for school programs?

    I wonder why there is a need for this restriction. Did a bunch of people get sick? Or hurt possibly stepping off a curb to access a truck? Or suffer vehicle damage? There must be some negative events around food trucks I’m not aware of, to warrant this massive shut down.

  2. andy says:

    Not sure what you expect when you elect these people…not surprising.

    • Christine says:

      When I elect these people? I’m sorry, but I really have zero recollection of anyone I voted for saying they were anti-food truck. I don’t think anyone on the council campaigned with a message of “down with food trucks in SB.”

      Tyler from the Independent said he’ll be covering the Council meeting today, so hopefully we’ll get more info about the motivation behind this, soon.

  3. SL says:

    Ridiculous. Hard to believe food trucks are a problem in SB. Compared to cities of similar size we have barely any due to all the red tape and fickle customer base. This seems like it will essentially kill food trucks in our city. Where is the motivation for this coming from? I hear people complain about a ridiculous amount of things in this city and food trucks is not one I can ever think of hearing except “why are there barely any food trucks in this town?”

  4. tama says:

    is this why the bbq food trucks were for sale?

  5. NC says:

    Ugh. One step further from having the kind of happening farmer’s markets full of prepared food enjoyed in other cities across California.

  6. Jonathan says:

    I’m assuming the restaurant owners ganged up in lobbying. One of the city commissioners is a restaurant owner, so this was to be expected. So much for competition being a healthy thing.

  7. Gerald Bostock says:

    “One of the city commissioners is a restaurant owner”
    Which one? Just curious. (unless you’re thinking of Rowse on the Council?)
    I agree that the proposed regulations are extremely limited and an overkill of control.

  8. Mark says:

    When do the restrictions kick in regarding homeless camping in the doorways of vacant retail space on State Street? What are the new hours for panhandling on the beach next to Stearns wharf?

    • Bob says:

      That’s exactly what I was thinking. Of all the ‘actual’ problems that people who live here complain about, these people decided to legislate this, something that is literally a non-issue to nearly everyone. Unbelievable.

      • Christine says:

        The Council is working on multiple issues all the time. It’s not they focus solely on one issue at a time. Homeless/vagrant issues are constantly being worked on. Just like all the other issues in front of the Council.

  9. Andy says:

    I totally expect this lately from the City of SB. Most ridiculous set of rules.

    SB is continuing to become more and more unfriendly to business (that don’t line the pockets of politicians).

  10. Gerald Bostock says:

    There is now a discussion about this on Edhat.

  11. Pingback: FOOD TRUCK FIGHT | The Restaurant Guy

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