The City Council is expected to vote on a proposed ordinance next week that would set new street vending rules in Long Beach by restricting where vendors can operate and what they can sell.

If approved, the law would require street vendors to obtain city permits, carry liability insurance and stay away from a long list of things including bus stops, public restrooms, fire hydrants, outdoor dining patios and other vendors.

Violations of the proposed ordinance would include fines ranging from $100 to $500, with stiffer penalties for those operating without a permit. Those would start at $250 and reach $1,000 for a third violation. Continued violations could ultimately result in the revocation of permits and the impounding of vendors’ equipment.

The ordinance is an effort to align with new state laws that have legalized street vending but allowed local governments to require permits, limit hours of operation and prohibit vending in certain areas as long as the rules are for “health, safety, or welfare concerns.”

A proposed ordinance was originally presented to the council in May, but members declined to vote on it, saying the rules were confusing and would have restricted street vendors in popular areas like Junipero Beach and near the Pike Outlets.

During that meeting, vendors and advocates clashed with restaurant owners who told the council that street vendors were putting the public’s health at risk, but also eating into their profits. State law does not allow restrictions on vendors to benefit existing shop owners.

The new version of the proposal cuts in half the distance vendors must stay away from other vendors (20 feet), allows mobile vendors to use bells or chimes, and increases the maximum operating space for vendors to 100 square feet, up from the originally proposed 80 square feet.

However, many of the other rules that were proposed in May are still in place, and they could make street vending in Long Beach difficult or impossible in some areas, according to a city memo released Friday.

James Suazo, the executive director of Long Beach Forward, a nonprofit that has been informing street vendors about the upcoming changes, said that street vending is as much an economic justice issue as it is one of race, noting that many of the city’s street vendors are Latino, Asian or Black.

Suazo said there are some positive developments in the proposed language published by the city, but there are still things that vendors and advocates will be fighting for at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, like getting rid of a prohibition on vendors setting up chairs and tables for customers, lowering the fees for permits and lowering the liability insurance threshold.

“It equates to about $300 per year, which may not seem like a lot to a lot of people, but for vendors who this might be their second job to survive in this economy, it is a lot,” Suazo said of the proposed $1 million of coverage the city could require vendors to carry.

He also pointed to Los Angeles, which in September proposed lowering its city permit fees from $541 to about $27 to take into consideration the annual income of street vendors. Under the proposed ordinance, street vendors would have to acquire a business license and permit from the city’s health department to legally operate.

In May, city officials recommended a series of fees that could eclipse $2,200 for some vendors.

Some of the prohibited zones could be a target for advocates Tuesday night as well.

The long list of buffers where street vending would be illegal remains intact. It includes areas that are 25 feet from any beach access point; 5 feet from bus stops, Metro stops, and above-ground structures like electrical boxes; and 15 feet away from things like fire hydrants, public restrooms, intersections and outdoor dining parklets.

A new restriction would prohibit vending within 500 feet of a freeway on-ramp or off-ramp.

The city did not immediately respond to whether it has a map of where vending would be allowed with all the buffers taken into account or how it plans to communicate that information to vendors without a visual representation of where vending is allowed.

Under the new proposal, it would be easier for vendors to do business at Junipero Beach, where the buffer between individual vendors was originally set at 40 feet but has been reduced to 20. However, stationary vendors would be barred from selling out of the beach’s parking lots, and stationary vendors would have to maintain at least 500 feet between their operations and beach concession stands, which have contracts with the city to sell food and drinks.

The memo notes that rules for street vendors would still have to be approved by the California Coastal Commission, which could rule that vending infringes on the public’s right to access the beach.

However, areas the council sought to open up to vendors like the Pike Outlets and Rainbow Lagoon could still be made off-limits under the new proposal. The memo said that because the property is part of a private lease and the sidewalks and parkways there are maintained by a private company they should remain off-limits.

Suazo said that his organization stands firm that those should be considered public spaces and vendors should be able to continue operating there.

The council is expected to vote on the ordinance at its Nov. 14 meeting.

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.