The Santa Cruz City Council Tuesday banned smoking along downtown side streets and limited the spaces where street vendors could sell their wares.
The council unanimously banned smoking on side streets one block from Pacific Avenue, where smoking has already been prohibited since 2009. Merchants complained that the smokers were congregating around their businesses off the main downtown street.
The council agreed to look into putting additional cigarette disposal cans outside the limits so that piles of butts wouldn't accumulate, as they are now.
There was more debate over amendments to the vending ordinance that would limit the number and space given to people selling wares. Vendors will no longer be able to spread blankets on the ground, because, the city staff said, they could be tripped over.
Vendors will have to have tables or boxes upon which to spread their jewelry or art and are limited to a space of 12 square feet.
Don Lane and Micah Posner voted against the measures. Lane said he needed more time to hear from people about it; Posner said he thought there were enough ordinances restricting people downtown.
Councilwoman Pamela Comstock was strongly in favor of the restrictions, saying that the sidewalks were for pedestrians and that the spread of street vendors made the city appear "schlocky." "I don't want it to be a flea market," she said.
While courts have allowed the sales of art as a first amendment protection, city attorney John Barisone said that as long as the city shows it has places people can express their free speech rights then it can restrict them to certain times and places.