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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Airing of Mobile Vendor Complaints May Have Altered Truck Behavior

• Malibu City Council Looks at Issues Next Week

BY BILL KOENEKER

The Malibu City Council postponed a scheduled hearing last week on whether to consider additional regulations on mobile vendors and mobile billboard displays due to the late hour.
The matter has been continued until the council’s regular meeting on Monday, Nov. 26.
It appears the food trucks and mobile billboards may have diminished their presence during the last two weeks or are keeping a low profile.
The usual haunt along the stretch of Pacific Coast Highway between Heathercliff and Portshead, which became a focal point for Point Dume critics of food trucks, has now become, for the most part, a clear, empty shoulder.
The city staff was asked to bring back a report to give the council an overview of the issues as well as the options for enforcement possibilities.
As city officials have found out from some of their constituents and witnessed themselves, both the food trucks and mobile billboard displays have been operating in various forms throughout the city.
“Recently, staff has observed an increase in activity from these uses and received several nuisance and safety complaints from the public,” wrote Associate Planner Joseph Smith, in a report to the council.
Smith is expected to tell council members that in Malibu, mobile vending remains largely unregulated by the city’s municipal code provisions, but state codes have been identified that appear to allow the city to enforce mobile vending curbs along Pacific Coast Highway.
The state code reads, “Any vehicle or structure parked or placed wholly or partly within any state highway, for the purpose of selling the same or of selling any article, service or thing, is a public nuisance and the department may immediately remove that vehicle or structure from within any highway.
“The California Highway Patrol and all peace officers from local law enforcement agencies may enforce the provisions of chapter.”
An altogether different issue, but lumped together by municipal officials, is mobile billboard displays, which are regulated by the city’s municipal code provisions, opportunities for improved regulation and enforcement are available given recent state legislation, according to the planner.
“Further discussion of these uses, including areas of concern for mobile vendors and mobile billboard displays are listed in the report, including examples of other city regulations and options for enforcement.
The planning staff has observed three types of mobile vendor operations occurring in the same area for longer periods of time than is typical of traditional vending activities, such as a catering trucks serving construction workers at a work site for 30 minutes, then moving on.
Planners cite traffic issues, including the potential for visual distraction, as concerns pertaining to both types of roadside activity,  adding that food trucks also raise issues of sanitation, odor, noise, aesthetics, hours of operation, and city liability.

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