Huntington Beach

Cap on food delivery fees fails

HOME DELIVERY of food has become more widespread during the coronavirus pandemic (Pexels/Norma Mortenson).

The coronavirus pandemic brought the business of delivering food to your house from a mere convenience to one that seemed almost necessary to survival.

Considering how much commerce was going out the door to your front porch because of fear of exposure to the deadly COVID-19 virus, some delivery drivers may have upped the fee for such personal service to what some critics have called profiteering, some as high as 30 percent.

However, a proposal to adopt an emergency and interim ordinance establishing limitations on third-party delivery fees failed at Monday’s meeting of the Huntington Beach City Council.

The ordinance called for a cap of 15 percent on such deliveries, and that any additional related costs are limited to 5 percent.

An emergency ordinance requires a two-thirds vote, or five ayes in the case of the seven-member Huntington Beach panel. Only three votes were in favor, with Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz and councilmembers Erik Peterson, Mike Posey and Barbara Delgleize opposed.

Councilmember Natalie Moser referred to such a crackdown as a “lifeline” to restaurants that might lose business when delivery fees became excessive. “This is a temporary proposal,” she noted.

But Delgleize said, “I get a little nervous when the city is trying to tell restaurants how to run their businesses.”

Also on Monday night, the council approved on a 7-0 vote a motion to direct city staff to analyze and assess city zoning code and parking requirement adjustments to make permanent outdoor dining and retail operations after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

Additionally, on another 7-0 vote, the council approved an action plan and amended agreement between the city and Soundskilz, Inc., for organizing the 2021 4th of July Celebration. Because of the pandemic, the traditional parade down Main Street is being replaced by other patriotic-themed activities.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 5.


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