City Launches Sidewalk Permit Programs in Wake of New Regulations

The Los Angeles Department of Public Works announced Thursday that it has established programs for property owners to apply for permits to place objects, such as planters, in front of their businesses and for street vendors to legally sell food or other items on city sidewalks and in parks.

Property owners who want to install planters or other objects on public sidewalks can apply for a revocable permit through the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering website, The permitting process is intended to ensure materials and installations pose "no physical threat or safety hazard," according to DPW officials.

Property owners who do not have permits for sidewalk obstructions will be cited and may be given an additional 30 days to apply. Unsafe obstructions may be cited for immediate removal, city officials said.

Caridad Vasquez is one of thousands of street vendors who set up shop to sell food and merchandise across the city’s parks, sidewalks and outside stadiums. However, for decades, street vending has been prohibited and criminalized in the city of Los Angeles. But that will soon change. The city attorney is currently writing an ordinance for a street vending permit system after the City Council approved the framework in April.

Illegal planters or other sidewalk encroachments are also subject to penalties, with regulations enforced by the Bureau of Street Services.

The Los Angeles Board of Public Works in September approved changes to the policies that would require people to obtain permits for planters, railings, fences and other items placed on city sidewalks.

The changes are significant since planters and other installations were put in some neighborhoods to deter homeless people from sleeping in front of businesses.


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Permits for planters and other objects under the policy range from about $550 to $1,850 or the actual cost of a city investigation, if necessary, Public Works officials said.

The Sidewalk and Park Vending Program also goes into effect this week. Under the new program, sidewalk vendors can apply for operating permits during a six-month enrollment period at a reduced fee of $291 through the end of June.

Effective July 1, the fee will increase to $541 and permits will be mandatory.

The Bureau of Street Services, or StreetsLA, will oversee the vending program with support from the city's Economic and Workforce Development Department, which will provide technical assistance to help vendors go through the permitting process, city officials said. The assistance will be provided at eight BusinessSource Centers across the city.

For information about vending permits and BusinessSource Center locations, visit, or call 3-1-1 or StreetsLA at 213-847- 6000.

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