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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Municipal Officials Say That They Have Worked Out Issues with Food Trucks on PCH

BY BILL KOENEKER

The Malibu City Council agreed this week not to impose additional regulations on mobile vendors and mobile billboard displays and take a wait-and-see approach after they were told by the staff law enforcement had already taken action.
It appears the food trucks and mobile billboards diminished their presence during the last two weeks after they were given courtesy warnings about the illegality of doing business along a state highway.
The usual haunt along the stretch of Pacific Coast Highway between Heathercliff and Portshead, which became a focal point for critics, has now become, for the most part, a cleared, empty shoulder along PCH.
The 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 constituency and witnessed themselves, both the food trucks and mobile billboard displays had been operating in various forms throughout the city.
Associate Planner Joseph Smith told council members state codes have been identified that allow the city to enforce no mobile vending or billboards along Pacific Coast Highway.
City Manager Jim Thorsen explained that the sheriff's department has provided courtesy no?tices to vendors after City Attorney Christi Hogin's office found the state ordinance.
“It appears the problems have been dealt with using the existing ordinances. We hope the problems are resolved in the next 30-60 days,” the city manager said.
Hogin said other cities are taking the lead passing several new ordinances that are already being tested legally in court.
“Let's give it six months,” she said.
Planning Director Joyce Parker Bozylinski said the department is undertaking a complete rewrite of the city's sign ordinance, which will direct some of its attention to signs on private property in yards and along streets.
She said currently planners and other city officials have the power to issue citations for illegal signs. “We have a citation program to encourage compliance,” she said.
Councilmember Joan House wanted to know about the transfer of sewage from one truck to another, which takes place along PCH and other roadways. “That  is not permitted? I thought you could not do that?” she asked.
Thorsen said it is not addressed by the codes. “That is another item. It is coming up for addressing septic transfer,” he said.
Councilmember John Sibert said he could fully endorse the staff's approach, especially if city officials could find ways to address the matter without passing more laws.
“There is a huge change already. But that septic transfer, that occurs regularly three to four times a day. That is going to be addressed separately,” he said.
Councilmember Skylar Peak said he wanted to see how the matter works out.
Councilmember Laura Rosenthal wanted to know if there were ways to deal with the issue doing “something besides code enforcement.”
Rosenthal had also asked the questions about the city’s sign ordinance and any upcoming changes.
Mayor Lou La Monte said he wanted the staff to address the vertical banners that have proliferated throughout the city.

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