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12 Gaslamp Quarter businesses sue city for not enforcing sidewalk vending law

12 Gaslamp businesses sue city for not enforcing sidewalk vending law
Posted at 5:59 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 14:56:06-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — 12 businesses in the Gaslamp Quarter are taking legal action against the City of San Diego, Mayor Todd Gloria, and the City Council, alleging negligence and interference with prospective economic advantage due to inadequate enforcement of the city's sidewalk vending ordinance.

The Gaslamp businesses claim the city has the capacity to enforce the law but has chosen not to do so. Their lawsuit seeks $12 million in damages and aims to compel the city to address the issue of illegal hot dog vendors.

The establishments include:

  • Brooklyn Dogs
  • Cafe Au Lait
  • Chiefty Cafe
  • Doner Mediterranean Grill
  • Casa-Blanca Lounge
  • Gaslamp Snack Shop
  • Greystone Prime Steakhouse
  • J&R Deli
  • Nature's Kitchen
  • Urban India
  • Nicolosi's 5th Ave.
  • Rockin' Baja Lobster.

In the lawsuit, the businesses describe how the unlicensed vendors have stolen and driven away their customers.
"I lose between $1,500 to $2,000 a night," said Mareous Sitto with Ghost Heist Tacos (formerly Doner Mediterranean Grill).

He said illegal hot dog vendors have significantly impacted their revenue, forcing them to change what they sell.

"It used to be a shawarma place and because the pricing was a little bit higher than the hot dog stands out there, we switched the business, and we decided to do a taco shop."

In February, the City Council revised a 2022 ordinance, aiming to crack down on illegal street vending. Street vending, even if licensed, is banned year-round in the Gaslamp Quarter.

Although the City Council revised an ordinance in February 2022 to address illegal street vending, Sitto said enforcement remains ineffective, with law enforcement ignoring violators.

Sitto said the unlicensed hot dog vendors have completely crushed his business.

"Last Saturday we were busy, from like 6 p.m. all the way until 12:30 a.m. nonstop. My shop was completely full all the time," he said. "At 12:30 a.m., these hot dog stands came into town, and it stopped. Empty."

ABC 10News has reached out to the city and the mayor's office for a response to the lawsuit and its allegations, but has not received a response.