Santa Paula Council: Merchants Ask for Code Enforcement on Food Trucks

By Sheryl Hamlin

The Santa Paula Municipal Code clearly defines operating conditions and operating areas for food trucks, called “catering trucks” in the code. The full municipal code is here.

However, at the November 21, 2016 council meeting a group of five restaurateurs, plus one member of the Chamber of Commerce and one member of the Santa Paula Downtown Merchants Association (SPDTMA) spoke in Public Comments about alleged abuses of food trucks.

Debbie Johnson from the SPDTMA indicated that a group of ten restaurateurs had met with the Planning Director Jana Minsk and the Fire Chief Rick Araiza about the issue of food trucks operating illegally and/or impinging on existing businesses. Note that Code Enforcement falls under Chief Araiza’s jurisdiction.

From the testimony of the restaurateurs, it appears that the food trucks are operating in restricted areas and in one case are impeding traffic. The text of the appropriate municipal code is listed below.

Jaime Sandoval, owner of La Terraza and Café Verona, mentioned insurance, competition and chains. Who is in charge of enforcement, he asked.


Jaime Sandoval

Why no Code Enforcement

Code Enforcement (or lack thereof) has been a subject of numerous budget meetings. At one point, a part-time position was budgeted. This item would fall under commercial code enforcement, which was discussed at a previous budget meeting and was to be funded through a CDBG grant.

The municipal code appears straightforward. What is lacking is commercial code enforcement. The CDBG grant was not discussed at this council meeting. Was this grant re-initiated?

If no grant, the city will have to look elsewhere for funding this position. Although not discussed at the meeting, potentially code enforcement could be something funded by Measure T.

Santa Paula Municipal Code Catering Trucks


(A) Requirements. All vending shall be subject to and in compliance with the following requirements(1) Business license. Each owner shall have a valid and current city business license.

(2) Peddler/vendor permit. Each owner shall have a valid and current peddler/vendor permit.

(3) Health permit. Each owner causing the sale of or offering for sale any produce, food or edibles shall have a valid health permit issued by the appropriate governmental agency.

(4) Insurance. Each owner shall have general liability and, when applicable, automobile insurance with coverage in the amounts and with the named additional insured as required by the City Attorney’s office.

(5) Decal/public property use fee. Each person engaged in vending shall, in a conspicuous location on the vehicle or pushcart, display a city-issued decal visible to the general public. The decal shall be issued when:

(a) The owner has provided the city with evidence of compliance with subdivisions (1) through (4) above;

(b) The owner’s proposed operation has been reviewed and approved by the city as complying with the municipal code;

(c) The owner has paid the peddler/ vendor permit fee.

(6) Self-contained vehicle. Any vehicle must be totally self-contained and may not use the utilities on the site on which it is operating.

(7) May not impede access. Vehicles and pushcarts shall not be located in such a way as to block required parking spaces or driveways, impede vehicular or pedestrian access on public or private property, create a hazardous disruption in the flow of traffic on public roadways or sidewalks, or encroach on landscaped areas by the vehicle, pushcart or customers.

(B) Areas allowed or prohibited. Vending activities shall only occur in commercial and industrial areas of the city. Vending of ice cream, snowcones and bakery products may be conducted in all areas of the city. Vehicles and pushcarts may park on private property, subject to the other limitations in this chapter, only with the permission of the property owner. Vending shall not be permitted:

(1) On Harvard Blvd., 10th St., Ojai Rd., Main St. and within one block north or south of Main St., 12th St., Oak St., Peck Rd. south of Main St., and on Telegraph Rd. east of Calavo St., except for traditional-style hot food carts and catering trucks operating as provided in subdivision (A)(7) of this section;

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Sheryl Hamlin
Sheryl Hamlin
3 years ago


The Food Truck tax should not be an issue, if the vendor is following the rules which require each truck to report meals sold at what location for tax purposes. See guide here: