UPDATE: City cracks down on Valentine’s vendors

Frank Espino works on arranging a dozen tall stem roses boquet

The City of Gilroy’s two code enforcement officers issued immediate cease and desist warnings to approximately 19 vendors who on Tuesday were selling Valentine’s Day products without the proper city permits and business licenses.

Officers stood by while vendors packed up their items for sale and vacated the premises, according to City Code Enforcement Officer Hippolito Olmos. No citations were issued, Olmos explained, because the city’s municipal code allows first-time violators a 10-day period to comply. Citations are administered if (1) the offender has already been issued a warning, or (2) the violation is life-threatening. 

“We were instructed to give a warning like we do with all code enforcement,” said Olmos Thursday morning. “We give them an opportunity to comply, and then if they do not comply, we are forced to cite or confiscate.”

David Boles, code enforcement officer with the Gilroy Police Department, said the GPD also issued six warnings Tuesday.

All 19 vendors complied with the warnings, Olmos said.

Vendors were given an informational flier explaining the rules and regulations regarding mobile vending and conducting transient business (the notice is posted along with this story).

In a nutshell, city fees for conducting seasonal business are broken down into two categories. 

A non-mobile vendor is required to obtain a seasonal license (starting at $50) and a temporary use permit ($920).

A mobile vendor must fill-out an annual renewal application ($85); obtain a transient business license ($100 annually or $50 a month); and get a mobile vendor permit ($130 annually). They also must relocate every 10 minutes.

When asked how the city will be able to keep track of repeat offenders (most gift vendors descend upon Gilroy twice annually for Valentine’s and Mother’s Day), Olmos mentioned he took photographs of every vendor for the city’s record. 

On Tuesday, Olmos and Scott Barron – the city’s other code enforcement officer – documented vendors camped out at local gas stations; in parking lots; on the corners of busy intersections; in front of vacant URMs (unoccupied, unreinforced masonry buildings); and one at a residence on 9250 Church St.

Hosting a garage sale falls under a different classification than selling brand-new items from your front lawn, Olmos explained.

“You must have owned the product than a year,” said Olmos. “You can’t sell new stuff, like pre-packaged balloons and bouquets.”

To read more about the city’s issue with out-of-town vendors, click on the links below. 

City promises vendor crackdown

Frowning florists

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