City Council Weighs in on Citywide Response to Sidewalk Vending

February 23, 2022 11:34 AM

At its meeting last night, City Council received an update on the citywide response to sidewalk vending in Santa Monica. The study session came at the request of Council in December 2021. The City teams dedicated to the topic all participated in the update, including members of the City Manager’s Office, Code Enforcement, Police Department, Fire Department, and Public Works, all of which have resources dedicated to addressing vending, along with the City Attorney’s Office. 


Since 2019, after the passage of State Senate Bill 946, the City has worked to enroll vendors in Santa Monica’s accessible, low-cost Sidewalk Vending Program, and to share information on how to safely vend in the City. More than 400 applications and renewals have been processed since the program’s launch. For step-by-step guidance on how to vend in Santa Monica, visit 


Given a significant increase in unpermitted vending activity on and near the Santa Monica Pier, the City has responded with coordinated enforcement focused on addressing the use of combustible fuels and illegal dumping of liquid and other waste that present serious dangers to the wooden Pier and coastal environment. Since the collaborative effort launched its work in January 2022 at peak days and times each week, and in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, public safety and health on the Pier have improved significantly, while waste and environmental impacts have been curtailed. As one example, before January, Public Works spent 50 – 60 labor hours each week cleaning trash and liquid from the Pier and, in recent weeks, that has been reduced to only a few hours each week.  


“Santa Monica has explored every means to create a low-barrier, low-cost Sidewalk Vending Program that is accessible to vendors,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “In recent months, City departments have demonstrated remarkable collaboration to conscientiously address the serious risks associated with an increase in unpermitted vending activity, and we are poised to continue that work while also continuing to elevate safe vending opportunities.”


Council directed staff to continue its coordinated enforcement approach while modifying the staffing structure to reduce some staffing levels for a more sustainable model through FY 2022 – 2023. Staff will incorporate any necessary position or resource requests in the FY 2022 – 2023 budget process. Council also provided the following feedback as part of the study session: 



Beyond the study session, Council also approved an emergency ordinance prohibiting the possession of combustible fuels on or in close proximity to the Pier. In August 2021, Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting the use of combustibles on the wooden Pier.  


To learn more about vending in Santa Monica, visit To access this release in Spanish, click here

The City is committed to supporting vendors through the permitting process. For customer service help in English and Spanish, call 3-1-1 or email 


Staff report – English > 

Staff report – Spanish > 



Media Contact

Constance Farrell
Communications & Public Information Manager


Business, Licenses And Permits, Other Services, Safety


City Manager's Office