Santa Rosa’s street food vendors are hitting the road. After two months congregating in a city parking lot downtown once a week, the taco trucks and hot dog carts taking part in the city’s Munch Monday promotion are moving two blocks south on March 7. Several downtown restaurateurs had accused the city of promoting unfair competition from out-of-area vendors.
Santa Rosa officials met Thursday with a dozen restaurateurs upset about the city’s support for Munch Mondays, which has brought mobile food trucks to a downtown parking lot. City officials said they would be open to moving the gathering of street food vendors to other locations after the eight-week promotion wraps up this month.
Downtown Santa Rosa restaurants are steamed that the city has been promoting the mobile food fair known as Munch Mondays, creating additional competition at a time when they can least afford it. To help street vendors get around a city ordinance that requires food trucks to move every 30 minutes, city staff helped organize, promote and permit the event. But Councilman Gary Wysocky says it’s not right for the city to subsidize out-of-town vendors to compete with local restaurants.
Santa Rosa’s City Council has dismissed the case of the new downtown courthouse. Despite appeals from those who said it could boost the downtown economy, the council voted 4-3 on Tuesday not to encourage the state to build its new $180 million criminal courthouse downtown.
The large orange planter pots that line downtown Santa Rosa sidewalks will be removed under a makeover plan approved by the city. Mayor Ernesto Olivares praised the plan to remove many planters, install bollards and establish consistent design themes for everything from street lights and garbage cans to benches and bike racks.
Daniel Jante got a ticket for allegedly playing his trumpet too loudly in downtown Santa Rosa. It is the first time police have enforced an ordinance that requires street performers to get a free city-issued permit if they’re going to perform on public property for tips. The run-in illustrates the challenge the city faces in striking a balance between encouraging street performers downtown and keeping them in check.
A new law for street performers in Santa Rosa is meant to override what was seen as an overly restrictive and selectively enforced noise ordinance that made it against the law to play a drum “or other instrument or device of any kind for the purpose of attracting attention by the creation of noise within the city.”
It’s a little late in the game, but Santa Rosa is still hoping the state can be convinced to build a new $180 million criminal courthouse downtown. State judicial officials last year rejected the idea of constructing the courthouse on the site of the downtown post office on Second Street after concluding it couldn’t be done quickly enough.
The City of Santa Rosa wants to encourage street performers downtown — it just doesn’t want them to annoy anyone. That’s the delicate balance the City Council says it is trying to strike with a new law tentatively adopted Tuesday requiring musicians, jugglers and mimes to get a permit to perform for donations on public property.