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Tough new rules for mobile vendors start October 19

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POSTED September 26, 2009 2:07 a.m.
LATHROP – The new ordinance that will mandate taco and ice cream trucks, pushcarts, food wagons and other mobile vending operations to obtain a business permit from the city will take effect on Monday, Oct. 19.

A majority vote by the City Council their Sept. 15 regular meeting approved the newest addition to the municipal code.

Among other things, the new law will require “mobile vendors” to obtain a business license from the city and to submit to a background check by the Lathrop Police Department before they can start operating. They will also need to have a current San Joaquin County Environmental Health permit. An annual permit plus a yearly fire inspection from the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District are also part of the stringent business requirements.

Code compliance supervisor Lane Avilla earlier told the Bulletin that there are about a dozen mobile vendors operating in the city. He said the majority of them already have obtained business permits from the city.

During the council discussion on the proposed ordinance, no one came forward to speak against the proposal. There was one food vendor, though, in the audience but was hesitant to address the council in Spanish. However, he was encouraged to do so after Mayor Kristy Sayles requested City Attorney Salvador Navarrete to do the interpreting in English.

Speaking in Spanish with the city attorney translating what he was saying in English, Morino said, “We have soap and water to wash our hands, and we have napkins” in the vending trucks, explaining some of the health and safety precautions they already have in place.

 Other highlights of the new ordinance:

•Vendors must have permits and licenses in their possession when doing business, and they must be on display at all times.

•They also must be able to show current vehicle registration plus a copy of an applicable vehicle insurance policy.

•Food vendors are not allowed to sell non-food items.

•They may not operate their business within 300 feet of any street intersection where there is a crosswalk, traffic light or stop sign.

•They have to stay 500 feet away from another wagon, pushcart or motorized food wagon.

•They must move their mobile operation at least 500 feet and at least every half hour, and “may not return to a previous location or within 500 feet of a previous location on the same calendar day.”

•No vendor will be allowed to operate on public property.

•Vendors must park their vehicles on approved surfaces and must dispose all trash that is accumulated as a result of their vending activity.

•Violations of the new code will be treated either as a misdemeanor or an infraction with penalties and fines up to $1,000 or six months in jail, or both, for each offense.

For further details about the new ordinance, call the city’s Code Compliance Division at (209) 941-7280.
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