Steak ‘n Shake Coming to Southern California

It’s difficult to believe that their are fast food chains that do not have a presence in California, but among the chains that have no presence in Southern California include Midwestern burger and shake chain Steak ‘n Shake.  To be sure, there is one in Nevada that has been around for a few years inside the South Point Casino on the outskirts of Las Vegas.  However, this appears to be changing, as this post on Monster.com attests for a Santa Monica location:

Restaurant General Manager

  • COMPANY:
    Steak-n-Shake
  • LOCATION:
    Santa Monica, CA
  • POSITION TYPE:
    Full Time, Employee
  • JOB CATEGORY:
    Food Services/Hospitality
  • CAREER LEVEL:
    Manager (Manager/Supervisor of Staff)
  • REFERENCE CODE:
    Santa Monica

Job Description

First and foremost, General Managers live and teach the mission and vision of the company. The General Manager is responsible for ensuring that the restaurant is running smoothly and making the guest the priority. Additionally, the General Manager partners with the District Manager  to ensure the overall financial health and brand standard execution of a single unit as well as developing a bench of well-trained talent for each level within the restaurant. The General Manager will manage the business by directing and holding the management, service and production teams accountable for service and operations excellence, including Steak n Shake procedures, policies and specifications which deliver the highest quality burgers and shakes. The General Manager will direct all activities pertaining to a clean, safe and attractive environment, the overall guest experience, staffing, discipline, payroll, repair and maintenance. The General Manager needs to be organized, proactive, excellent with time management, work well in a fast-paced environment and have outstanding customer service skills. For those with an entrepreneurial approach and a relentless pursuit of excellence, the General Manager position will allow recognition and potential career advancement.

Company Profile

We are a fast growing company with the longest established name in the premium burger and milkshake segment of the restaurant industry. We have been delighting our guests with premium products since 1934.  We have a performance-based culture and we select leaders who have a high level of integrity and intellect. Our intensity in executing our mission and vision sets us apart from our competition.  We deliver high quality, great service, and the lowest possible prices. Steak n Shake is selecting leaders with the drive to win who share our desire to lead and dominate for generations to come.

Requirements

  • Past GM experience and a minimum of 3 years in the restaurant industry.
  • Proven track record of building sales, increasing profits, people development, and operational improvements.
  • Strong service and hospitality focused leadership style.
  • Demonstrates an ownership mentality, business maturity, and strong industry awareness.
  • Utilizes tactical and strategic judgment to achieve all key business measures.
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred.

Compensation and Benefits

  • General Manager compensation commensurate with experience.
  • Quarterly Incentive Bonus Program.
  • Basic Life and AD&D Insurance.
  • Day one medical, vision, dental, and life insurance plans.
  • 401k.
  • Short term and long term disability available.
  • Paid vacation.
  • Exceptional training, development, and onboarding program.

There were blog posts from 2011 and 2012 regarding the expansion, but I was unable to find anything more recent.  A blog post from the Orange County Register suggested 25 Southern California locations.  Another post from 2011 states one is slated for Playa Vista.  I would anticipate that none of them will be in the core Inland Empire, but I would imagine that places like Chino Hills and Corona might be locations if the company is targeting Los Angeles and Orange Counties.  For example, Habit Burger has stores in Chino Hills, La Verne, and Murrieta, but none in the core of Ontario, San Bernardino or Riverside.

 

Friday Aside: A History of In-N-Out Burger in San Bernardino and environs

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

I’ve written about In-N-Out Burger a few times, particularly in relation to trade dress.  Someone reached my blog by asking “when did in n out open first in san bernardino ca.”  If the searcher was seeking when the Fifth Street location  (795 W. Fifth Street, San Bernardino) was built, that location was built in 2011, and opened at the end of 2011 (December 8, 2011).  It replaced the Second Street location (the address was technically 190 Bungalow Court), which closed on December 7, 2011.  The Second Street location was demolished after the State of California took possession on January 1, 2012.  The State of California acquired the parcel through eminent domain for the Interstate 215 widening project.  See Resolution CDC/2011-50 of the Community Development Commission of the City of San Bernardino.

The Bungalow Court location was there as long as I can remember,  and consisted of a double drive through and no inside eating area.  The location in south San Bernardino,was moved slightly to the north to 1065 E. Harriman Place during the creation of the HUB Project.  There was an Owner Participation Agreement between In-N-Out and the Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Bernardino, acknowledged by Resolution 2001-317, approved by Mayor Valles on October 3, 2001. The old In-N-Out in North Loma Linda was also a double drive through.  According to a letter dated January 23, 1997 from then-attorney (and now Judge) Cynthia Ludvigsen, the old In-N-Out was on the northwest corner of Rosewood Drive  and Tippecanoe.  The Highland store  (28009 Greenspot Road, Highland, CA 92346) opened in 2012.
So, when did In-N-Out Burger open in San Bernardino?  The area near Central City Mall was redeveloped in the 1970s.  The Redevelopment Agency of the City of San Bernardino put out a photo survey of the downtown area before redevelopment, and if I recall correctly, the area on 2nd Street had houses in the early 1970s.

The In-N-Out website’s history section gives clues, but no answers.  Obviously, the first one opened in 1948 in Baldwin Park, the same year that McDonald’s converted to a quick serve restaurant from a barbecue restaurant in San Bernardino.  By 1958, there were five locations in the San Gabriel Valley.  By 1973, In-N-Out had 13 locations, all in Los Angeles County, and all with two drive through lanes and no inside eating. In 1979, the first In-N-Out with a dining room opened in Ontario as restaurant number 21.  The website adds that only 13 more no dining room locations were built after that.  By 1988, In-N-Out had 50 stores in total, and in each of the core Southern California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura.I have In-N-Out Santa glasses from 1982 that I know we bought from the 190 Bungalow Court location, so that probably means that the original downtown San Bernardino In-N-Out Burger was built between 1973 and 1982. [Update: October 17, 2012.  I couldn’t stand it any longer.  According to In-N-Out’s customer service line, the store was opened on February 11, 1982].

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Copyright 2012 Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

 

Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

A: 300 E. State St., Suite 517

Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708

E: michael@michaelreiterlaw.com

W: http://michaelreiterlaw.com

County of San Bernardino Board of Supervisors Give Staff Direction on Hot Food Trucks.

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

According to the newspaper (for when the link vanishes, San Bernardino Sun (online), “Food truck rules eased” by Joe Nelson, posted 8/9/2011 at 06:35:42 PDT, accessed 8/10/2011), the Board of Supervisors chose option 2:

In general, three options identified relative to the County’s regulation of hot food truck operations
in the County are outlined below followed by detailed descriptions, impacts and summaries for
each option:
1. Maintain the existing County health and safety ordinance and prohibition of hot food trucks
except when operating as a temporary food facility at an approved community event.
2. Amend the existing County health and safety ordinance to establish a new category of
“hot foot truck events.”
3. Amend the existing County health and safety ordinance to permit hot food trucks to
operate throughout the County.

Staff will bring back an ordinance for the Supervisors to vote on.  Stay tuned.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

A: 1255 W. Colton Ave., Suite 104
Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 708-6055

County of San Bernardino To Consider Allowing Mobile Gourmet (or at least Hot) Food Trucks At August 9, 2011 Board of Supervisors Meeting

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law.

The Board of Supervisors, at their August 9, 2011 meeting, have an agenda item regarding allowing food trucks.   This is a follow-up on Supervisor Janice Rutherford’s call regarding food trucks.  There will be a staff report at the meeting with a request for direction by the Board of Supervisors.  If you want to be heard on this issue, now is the time to do so, by calling your Supervisor (or at least a Supervisor), or by sending electronic mail, or attending the meeting and speaking on the agenda item.

The staff report suggests these possible actions by the County of San Bernardino and seeks the Board’s direction on the issue:

 

In general, three options identified relative to the County’s regulation of hot food truck operations
in the County are outlined below followed by detailed descriptions, impacts and summaries for
each option:
1. Maintain the existing County health and safety ordinance and prohibition of hot food trucks
except when operating as a temporary food facility at an approved community event.
2. Amend the existing County health and safety ordinance to establish a new category of
“hot foot truck events.”
3. Amend the existing County health and safety ordinance to permit hot food trucks to
operate throughout the County.

 

The report acknowledges that San Bernardino and Riverside are believed to be the only California counties that prohibit mobile food trucks.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

A: 300 E. State St. Suite 517

     Redlands CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 708-6055

 

Blind Operators of Vending Facilities in California

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

I was a file clerk/runner for Milligan and Beswick in San Bernardino over twenty years ago.  Part of my job was to file pleadings with the court.  I became fairly intimate with the building at 351 North Arrowhead Avenue.  In the early 1990s, there were no metal detectors at the court.  You could easily run into the court and then back out.

I would sometimes get lunch for people in the office from the courthouse cafeteria.   It was run by a blind operator.   I would also sometimes buy snacks from the other blind operator (his sight was only somewhat impaired).  I remember buying popcorn, peanut M&Ms and six ounce Pepsi Colas in bottles (which by the early 1990s were not easy to come by) from the operator located next to the main stairway in the old courthouse.  I recall that he also sold hot dogs of the sort you could find in a movie theater.

For Federal facilities, there is the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act.  Its purpose is for “providing blind persons with remunerative employment, enlarging the economic opportunities of the blind, and stimulating the blind to greater efforts in striving to make themselves self-supporting, blind persons licensed under the provisions of this chapter shall be authorized to operate vending facilities on any Federal property.”  20 United States Code section 107.

For California state property, the Legislature adopted a similar program for “the purpose of providing blind persons with remunerative employment, enlarging the economic opportunities of the blind, and stimulating the blind to greater efforts in striving to make themselves self-supporting, blind persons licensed under this article shall be authorized to operate vending facilities on any property within this state as provided in this article. In order to administer this article, the director shall establish and promote the Business Enterprises Program for the Blind.”  California Welfare and Institutions Code section 19625.

The Business Enterprises Program for the Blind is run by the California Department of Rehabilitation.   Program information can be found at the Business Enterprise Program Website.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

A: 1255 W. Colton Ave. Suite 104, Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 708-6055

 

 

 

Why an In-House Public Lawyer Should Stay Out of Politics and Not Express Their Opinion if They Are Not Asked

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Some attorneys are very political.  They donate to local, state and federal candidates.  They hold fundraisers at their multi-million dollar houses (yes, even in the Inland Empire). Sometimes they are very associated with one political party or another.  Some become local officials.  I have no idea if this is beneficial or detrimental  for their practices, firms, well-being, or pocket book.

Public lawyers, and by public lawyers I mean in-house civil attorneys, typically in an in-house City Attorney’s Office or Office of County Counsel, may have opinions but it is usually best if they do not openly express them.  The entity, of course, is the client, but an entity is run by actual human beings.

As long time readers know, I was the Assistant City Attorney of the City of Redlands and a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, each for over four years, for a total of almost nine and a half years.   The environment in each office was different.  In Redlands, it was (then) a two person operation, which, for the size, workload and complexity of the organization, could have accommodated three attorneys.  The City Attorney was and is appointed by the City Council.  A majority of a Council quorum can remove the City Attorney, subject to the City Attorney’s agreement with the Council.  That is a different kind of political environment from the City of San Bernardino.

The City of San Bernardino, with an elected City Attorney, elections every two years, with charter fights, was a Politically-charged entity.  By “Politically,” with a capital P,  I mean municipal election politics.  While the employees of that office felt the secondary effects of the political winds, I was always allowed to do my job.  Certainly, when someone aims for the elected City Attorney, sometimes they hit a deputy.  But for the most part, the Mayor and Common Council, and the staff of the City viewed me, as a Deputy, as a non-c0mbatant.  Humorously, they sometimes treated me as if I were a victim of an evil regime.

People sometimes interpreted, when I was a prosecutor, that I was personally prosecuting people because I was a supporter of whatever ordinance I was prosecuting.   No, I was doing my duty to enforce the rules made by the policy makers.  If there was a problem with a particular rule, a political solution needed to be forged to change the rule.  That political solution was not one that I, as a Deputy City Attorney or the Assistant City Attorney, was going to be a part of, unless I was directed to draft an ordinance by the City Attorney.

Obviously, a wise public lawyer has to fit into the inter-office politics in the in-house environment.   That’s not what I am talking about, and that’s the same in any office with more than one person.  The public lawyer must be political in that sense.

Similarly, as an independent attorney, I do not hold any particular positions on the subjects that I write about.  Even if I am recounting my past actions, I did the things I did because it was my job to do them, because they benefited my public entity client, and it was at the direction of the political decision-makers of the entity.   I was never asked to do anything that was unethical, and even if I were asked to do something unethical, I would not do it.  However, very seldom does the public entity practitioner reach the bounds of the California Rules of Professional Conduct.

For example, someone thought I had a position on allowing Food Trucks in San Bernardino County.  I do not have a personal opinion on the subject.  If a small business retains me to represent them on the subject, my opinion is the same as the client.  I give advice in a neutral fashion, the pluses and minuses of any particular situation.  However, the best interest of the client must be kept in mind at all times.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog.  You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Copyright 2011 Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

A: 1255 W. Colton Ave. Suite 104, Redlands, CA 92374

T: (909) 708-6055

E: michael@michaelreiterlaw.com

W: http://michaelreiterlaw.com

 

Front Yard Fruit Stands in Redlands, California

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

I am a native of the Inland Empire and some of my earliest memories are of Redlands, from the San Bernardino County Museum, to field trips to Kimberly Crest, and attending meetings in the Assembly Room of the A.K. Smiley Public Library.  I learned much more about Redlands as Assistant City Attorney from January 2006 to June 2010. My office as a private attorney is in Redlands.

You can’t really know a city until you have walked its streets, particularly its residential areas.  One of the perksof street level exploration of a city (other than noticing the infrastructure) is finding little gems.  One of the things that gives Redlands its character  is its history in agriculture, not just being the Washington Navel Orange capital of the world, but appreciating the still-large amount of active agriculture.  In addition to active agriculture, there are backyard remnants of groves and other fruit trees.  If you drive around Redlands, you can find many front yard fruit stands.  You can find a story on this phenomenon in the Press-Enterprise article published on March 5, 2010 titled “Citrus Sales are part of the tradition of Redlands, nothing beats fresh” by Jan Sears and Darrell R. Santschi.  As of the writing of this post, it is available online.  I am not going to link to it because newspaper links break very easily.

For example pomegranates grow very well in Redlands.  And even though they are very expensive in supermarkets, you can pick them up at some front yard fruit stands.
I know of no guide to these fruit stands.  As I discover their exact location, I will post their block location and produce.  I do not want to give exact locations, because the people providing the service are doing a great the public a favor, and if the Press-Enterprise story is any indication, running the stands is a hassle.  If anyone with a stand wants to make a comment, or grant me permission to put an exact location, I will publish it below.  If anyone does not want to be included, let me know as well.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

A: 300 E. State St. #517 Redlands CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 708-6055

Gourmet Food Trucks in Riverside County and the City of Riverside

My post on Gourmet Food Trucks in San Bernardino County and the City of San Bernardino continues to be popular, so I thought I would add a follow-up about Riverside County and the City of Riverside.  The County’s Code, according to this Riverside Press-Enterprise story, prohibits food from being prepared on a truck, except for things like hot dogs (such as those outside the Riverside County Courthouses).  In effect, it allows “catering trucks” instead of gourmet food trucks.  The Council adopted Ordinance 7112 (an uncodified, unsigned version here) in January 2011 adding Chapter 5.36 of the Riverside Municipal Code.

There is an exception for special events.  Riverside Municipal Code section 5.36.090.

Cities often get pressure from bricks and mortar restaurants to prohibit gourmet food trucks, because they argue that gourmet food trucks are unfairly competing, because they do not have to pay expensive rent.  However, any argument that they do not have to pay a business license tax or registration tax is not correct.  Each truck must pay the proportional share in each jurisdiction it is doing business.  They have to collect and pay sales tax, too.

Copyright 2011 Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

 

A: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708

Trade Dress Confusion: In-N-Out versus Five Guys

I am a native of arguably the birthplace of fast food.  McDonalds was born on North E Street in San Bernardino, and Glenn Bell’s pre-Taco Bell restaurants started in San Bernardino.  I am very familiar with local Inland Empire chain (based in San Bernardino)  Baker’s Drive-Thru, as my office in the Redlands Executive Suites shares a parking lot.  Del Taco started in Yermo, and Carls Jr., Wienershnitzel and Jack in the Box all started in Southern California.  And of course, In-N-Out in Baldwin Park.

In today’s Los Angeles Times,on Page B-1 in an article by Sharon Bernstein is a discussion of  East Coast burger chain Five Guys moving directly into In-N-Out’s motherland.  I’ve long enjoyed  In-N-Out.  I’ll never forget visiting the store on Second Street in San Bernardino (which will soon move to Fifth Street in San Bernardino) after seeing the Cure at the Rose Bowl.  When I was an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, we at least on one occasion drove to the only In-N-Out then in Northern California in Gilroy.  By the time I graduated law school at Santa Clara University School of Law, they started to open throughout the Bay Area.  I stumbled upon the City Council Meeting in Sunnyvale on cable television approving the Conditional Use Permit for the store in Sunnyvale, a City that did not want new drive-throughs.  One opened approximately 300 feet from my front door.  Alas, I had graduated from law school and soon moved back to the Inland Empire.  In the Inland Empire, long home of existing In-N-Out Burger restaurants, municipalities like the City of Highland and the City of Rialto seek new stores to help put them on the map.  When I was Assistant City Attorney for the City of Redlands, one former council member sometimes publicly wished aloud for an In-N-Out in Redlands.  I can second that motion.
I first stumbled across Five Guys in Northern Virginia in 2007.  The first thing I noticed is that it appeared to be taking the “look and feel” of In-N-Out with Five Guy’s distinctive red and white color scheme, including red and white checkerboard tiles.  I didn’t eat at a Five Guys until last year in a store near Biloxi, Mississippi.   There are some key differences between the quality of  the two, particularly the expanded menu at Five Guys.

The look and feel of a restaurant can be protected as “trade dress.”  This protection derives both from the Federal Lanham Act and common law trademark.  Trademarks registered by In-N-Out (found at the United States Patent and Trademark Office searching for “In-N-Out”), include the word mark In-N-Out for a variety of goods and services classes, the arrow and rectangle  found on their sign and packaging , and the “mark [comprising] a stylized rendering of a continous band of palm trees above several continuous wavy lines which suggest ocean waves.”

In-N-Out has always vigorously defended its trademarks in court and at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  I remember a San Bernardino based chain called “Luv’m Burgers” which I was told was shut-down by In-N-Out a long time ago, though I was unable to find a trace of such a suit on the internet. In-N-Out has stopped people from using the mark “In-N-Out” in other trademark classes.   In-N-Out sued copycats, such as Nicky’s In-N-Out Gyros.  One of the key benefits of federal trademark registration is nationwide protection, even against the aforementioned Nicky’s, which was in Chicago.

In-N-Out also was able to get a temporary restraining order against Chadders, a Utah chain, for using some of In-N-Out’s federally-registered marks.  The order, which can be found , states in pertinent part:

“In-N-Out has federally registered trademarks in the names Protein® Style Burger, Animal® Style Burger, 3 x 3® Burger, 4x 4® Burger and Double Double®.2 In-N-Out claims, as its trade dress; simple red-and-white menu boards with a plain type font and red border and lettering, a red-and-white color scheme with yellow accents on the exterior and interior of its restaurant, including use on walls, tiles, and seating structures, a gray and white tile checkerboard floor in its interiors, exteriors with a “California” tile roof (featuring orangepavers), and employee uniforms with red aprons and red hats or visors. In-N-Out Burger serves food in what it alleges is a distinctive manner, which it alleges Chadders also uses.”  In-N-Out Burgers, A California Corporation v. Chadders Restaurant, et al., United States District Court for Utah, Central Division, 2:07-CV-394 TS, Memorandum Decision and Order, June 29, 2007 by U.S. District Court Judge Ted Stewart.  From the order, the Court granted the Temporary Restraining Order regarding the registered trademarks, but did not grant the Temporary Restraining Order regarding In-N-Out’s  trade dress claims.

The order focused on the following language from Clicks Billiards, Inc. v. Sixshooters, Inc.. 251 F.3d 1252, 1257-58 (9th Cir. 2001) : “To sustain a claim for trade dress infringement, [plaintiff] must prove: (1) that its claimed dress is nonfunctional; (2) that its claimed dress serves a source-identifying role either because it is inherently distinctive or has acquired secondary meaning; and (3) that the defendant’s product or service creates a likelihood of consumer confusion.”  I was unable to find if In-N-Out was able to succeed on the merits of the trade dress claims after the Temporary Restraining Order was denied in part.

However, there is a Youtube video which can help you make your own determination about In-N-Out’s trade dress claims against Chadders.

How about Five Guys?  If you search for “trade dress” “In-N-Out” and “Five Guys” in Google, you get others whose initial impression that Five Guy’s trade dress is an In-N-Out rip-off.   In this blog, the author states “I had time to soak in the red-and-white “trade dress” of In-N-Out, which reminded me a lot of the Johnny-come-lately look of Five Guys.”  In this comment on another site, the author says “Five Guys is no In-N-Out (ignoring the similarity in trade-dress), but their cheeseburger with the works and hot sauce ( which is more “tangy” than “hot” ) is outstanding.”

A plaintiff has to prove that the trade dress is non-functional.  In-N-Out’s red and white color scheme, including the checker scheme, with yellow accents is probably not functional.  You can have higher contrast color schemes for the function of readability.  I would argue that the color scheme does have a source identifying role.  The “likelihood of confusion” prong probably is not met, however, because even though people recognize that Five Guys is trying to be like In-N-Out, you know that a Five Guys is not an In-N-Out.   You can’t get a hot dog in In-N-Out, and hopefully, you never will be able to.  As soon as you see the peanuts in Five Guys, you know you’re not going to be able to order a Double Double Animal Style with a Neapolitan Shake and Fries Well.  The Five Guys I have seen are in strip malls, while almost all In-N-Outs have drive throughs.  Five Guys aren’t meticulously clean like an In-N-Out.  Anyone paying attention can tell the business model is different, too.  Five Guys franchises, and has expanded from its base almost as quickly as the ill-fated Krispy Kreme.  In-N-Out Burger  is still family owned, and has expanded slowly and cautiously (though you can argue the stand-alone Texas expansion may not be wise).  I think the lack of yellow in the scheme is a key difference.  Also, even though the comments above recognized the difference between the two chains despite the similarity of trade dress.  Yes, Five Guys is an imitator, but consumers can see that they are an obvious imitator.

Update 4/18/2011:

For those of you looking for the Redlands Five Guys, according to the Facts, it is opening on April 20, 2011 and is located at 10400 Alabama St. (in the Redlands Town Center).  I believe it is near Noodle 21.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Copyright 2011 Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

 

A: 300 E. State St., Suite 517
Redlands, CA 92373-5235
T: (909) 296-6708

Growing and selling crops and agricultural products in Inland Empire Cities

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

The San Francisco Chronicle has a story today on page A-1 about a property owner who has a pocket farm in Oakland.  The City of Oakland says that she needs a Conditional Use Permit to continue to sell her produce and livestock-derived food.  According to the same article, the City and County of San Francisco has already created new ordinances to deal with the urban farming trend in the Bay Area.

The Inland Empire has a rich history of agriculture, and unlike Oakland, still has agriculture.  According to the California Department of Agriculture,  of California’s 58 counties,   Riverside County was the 12th largest farm county in California in  2007, slipping to 13th in 2008.  Riverside’s crops were valued at $1,268,590,000.  The leading commodities for Riverside County in 2008 were nursery stock, milk, eggs, table grapes and hay.  San Bernardino County was the 17th largest farm county in California in 2007, slipping to 20th in 2008.  That probably is largely due to the dairies leaving Chino and South Ontario.  San Bernardino County’s crops were valued at $547,158,000 in 2008.  The leading commodities that year were milk, eggs, cattle and calves, replacement heifers and trees and shrubs.

By 2009, San Bernardino County had fallen to 25th out of  58 counties, with total production down to $355,379,000, with alfalfa becoming a top crop.  The march of urbanization made a significant dent in just two years.  The recession was probably the only thing preventing more losses.  Much prime agricultural land has been converted into housing.

When I was Assistant City Attorney for the City of Redlands, there was still significant agriculture in the City.  Some parts of the City and areas within the City’s sphere of influence were zoned agricultural.  In the A-1 Agricultural zone (one of a number of zones where agriculture is allowed by right) in Redlands, allows agricultural  uses  (only part of the section is quoted below, as shown by the ellipses):

“Apiaries, provided that no hives or boxes housing bees are kept closer than three hundred feet (300′) from any dwelling other than that occupied by the owner of the apiary;

Farms or ranches for the grazing, breeding or raising of not more than two (2) horses, cattle, goats or sheep per acre. . . .

Orchards, groves, nurseries, the raising of field crops, tree crops, berry crops, bush crops, truck gardening and commercial flower growing;. . . The sale of fruit, vegetables, produce, flowers and other similar products grown on the property; provided, however, that roadside stands used for such sales shall not exceed five hundred (500) square feet.”   Redlands Municipal Code section 18.20.030.  Other zones allow produce stands, either explicitly, or by reference to other zones.

In San Bernardino, where I was a Deputy City Attorney, there are only remnants of agriculture.   If you have a fast connection, or some spare time, you can find San Bernardino’s zoning map.  According to the City of San Bernadino’s Development Code, San Bernardino Municipal Code section 19.08.o20, agricultural production-crops, is allowed, subject to a development permit in the IH (Industrial Heavy) and IE (Industrial Extractive) zones.  Like the City of Oakland, agricultural uses are allowed in almost every residential zone in San Bernardino (except RSH, Residential Student Housing) with a Conditional Use Permit.  San Bernardino Municipal Code section 19.04.020.  “Agriculture” is defined as the ” use of land for farming, dairying, pasteurizing and grazing, horticulture, floriculture, viticulture, apiaries, animal and poultry husbandry, and accessory activities, including, but not limited to storage, harvesting, feeding or maintenance of equipment excluding stockyards, slaughtering or commercial food processing.”  San Bernardino Municipal Code section 19.02.050.   It is not immediately clear if that includes a produce stand.  That would probably be subject to the development permit or conditional use permit process.

The common sense advice is to check with your city, or if you are in an unincorporated area, Riverside or San Bernardino County before you start your mini-farm.  Also, there are other issues out there, such as legal non-conforming uses, non-zoning issues such as the keeping of animals, the need for a business registration certificate or a business license if you’re selling your produce or animal products, the possibility of County Health inspections and permits.  As with anything, you should get legal advice before starting instead of  facing a citation or a lawsuit alleging nuisance.  If you find yourself in trouble, find an attorney versed in land use or code enforcement, or both, depending on your situation.

Update 4/22/2011  The Mayor and Common Council had this agenda item on the 4/18/2011 meeting agenda.   According to the summary, the matter was sent to the Legislative Review Committee to review the proposal to allow food carts, coffee carts and vegetable stands.

Update 5/14/2012  The City of San Bernardino Mayor and Common Council passed MC-1363 in August 2011, changing the transient vendor ordinance 5.04.495, to have an exception to allow food carts as allowed by the Development Code, 19.70.060(1) which says “food carts and produce stands may be permitted for one year initially, and renewed annually, subject to verification of compliance with conditions of approval and County permit requirements, as applicable.”  19.70.020(11) states that temporary uses, subject to a Temporary Use Permit, including  “Food carts, operated at fixed, pre-approved locations, in the Main Street Overlay District, at least 500 feet away from any restaurant and under current permits from the County Environmental Health Services Division.”  SBDC section 19.70.020(12) also allows produce stands in community gardens.

 

Copyright 2011 Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

 

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