Bell Gardens City Council Action, October 14, 2019
City Manager Michael B. O’Kelly
For immediate release
October 15th, 2019
At Monday night’s Bell Gardens City Council meeting, progress was made toward making the City a healthier place; regulations for street vendors were discussed and an adjustment to the election for Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem dates was made.
To improve the health of Bell Gardens residents, the City Council approved a smoke-free housing ordinance that will go into effect December 1. The ordinance prohibits smoking in multi-unit housing in the City, which are defined as those that have three or more attached units, including rental complexes and condominiums. It does not apply to hotels, motels, mobile home parks, duplexes or single-family units.
Currently, smoking is prohibited in or near public facilities, public parks, recreational areas and City-sponsored events; this ordinance would expand those prohibitions to family day care facilities and residences in multi-unit housing as well as common areas (including hallways, elevators, courtyards, parking lots, private patios, balconies and decks) and non-smoking buffer zones.
The ordinance addresses the smoking of traditional tobacco in cigarettes and pipes, marijuana and e-cigarette usage. Smoking would only be allowed in designated smoking areas. Smoking is specifically prohibited within 25 feet of any doorway, opening, window, vent or any areas used by children.
Landlords of new multi-unit housing would be required to include and implement clauses in their leases to protect the rights of nonsmokers by December 1, 2019. Existing multi-unit housing residences must begin to include and implement these clauses by June 1, 2021.
Work began on sidewalk vendor regulations required by SB 946, which went into effect January 1, 2019. To make sure that concerns of all the stakeholders – vendors, residents, and brick-and-mortar businesses – are addressed, the City Council formed an ad hoc committee to develop local regulations in compliance with the new law.
SB946 establishes conditions for local regulation of sidewalk vendors, which are defined as a person who sells food or merchandise from a pushcart, stand, display, pedal-driven cart, wagon, showcase, rack of other non-motorized conveyance, or from one’s person upon a public sidewalk or other pedestrian path. SB946 does not apply to food trucks.
SB946 specifically says that local jurisdictions may not: prohibit sidewalk vending entirely; prohibit sales in public parks (unless it conflicts with an existing concessionaire agreement, or would interfere with park activities); restrict sidewalk vendors to a specific area; cap the total number of vendors or require them to obtain permission from a non-governmental entity to operate. Cities may restrict vendors from operating in residential areas, or areas where operation would create health and safety risks, such as near police and fire stations or busy intersections.
The City may require vendors to obtain permits from the City, operate in a sanitary manner and remove trash created from their operations, and limit hours of operation. They may also require vendors to carry insurance and indemnify the City against all claims and injuries arising from sidewalk vending activities.
The ad hoc committee will return with proposed regulations at a future City Council meeting. If you have a question or concern about sidewalk vendors, contact the City at (562) 806-7700 or visit the City’s website at www.bellgardens.org.
The City Council will organize and select its Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem at the first regular meeting this December (the second Monday), allowing current leadership to serve a full one year term in their leadership roles.
In 2016, General Municipal Elections were moved to the first Monday in November in even-numbered years to coincide with the Statewide General Elections in the hopes of encouraging more voter participation. Due to the change, it was agreed by the Council in 2016 that Council terms that would have expired in November 2017 and November 2019 would be extended until the November 2018 and November 2020 elections.
However, that change resulted in shorter terms for leadership beginning in December 2018, making this vote necessary. The City Council will consider an amendment to the Municipal Code in 2020 to permanently align the election results with the selection of the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem on a going forward basis.