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n4foodtrucks-1 Jordan Killam pays at the Wanderlust Sandwich Co. food truck in Toledo’s Uptown. Sandwich maker Megan Schofield accepts the card outside the Ottawa Tavern on Adams Street on Tuesday.
Jordan Killam pays at the Wanderlust Sandwich Co. food truck in Toledo’s Uptown. Sandwich maker Megan Schofield accepts the card outside the Ottawa Tavern on Adams Street on Tuesday.
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Published: Wednesday, 7/2/2014 - Updated: 5 months ago

Council avoids vote on food trucks

90 people, most against proposed rules, fill hearing

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to clarify Mr. Becyznski‘‍s position regarding food trucks.

Mayor D. Michael Collins’ menu of new regulations for the city’s growing food-truck industry quickly broke down on Tuesday under the pressure from supporters of the mobile businesses.

Toledo City Council last week was handed a set of proposed new rules, which included requirements that food-truck operators apply for permits that could cost up to $1,000 per year, obtain $1 million in liability insurance, operate during certain hours and in certain locations, and not park within 100 feet of entrances to brick-and-mortar restaurants.

The intent was to protect downtown restaurants from mounting mobile competition.

The OttawaTavern's food truck Wanderlust Sandwich Co., is open for business near the Ottawa Tavern uptown Toledo. The OttawaTavern's food truck Wanderlust Sandwich Co., is open for business near the Ottawa Tavern uptown Toledo.
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VIDEO: Toledoans respond to proposed food truck legislation

Ninety people — the majority of whom opposed the stricter regulations — packed council chambers Tuesday for a hearing on the legislation.

After hours of testimony, council declined to entertain a vote on the legislation and instead sent it back to Mayor Collins.

“That $1,000 is way too much,” said Phil Barone, owner of Rosie’s Italian Grille in Springfield Township. “I didn’t make that much down there.”

Rosie’s is one of nine trucks that have operated downtown, mostly near Levis Square.

Mr. Barone said he was “ecstatic” that council didn’t approve the new regulations.

The mayor’s staff originally said the proposal was a response to complaints from restaurants in the downtown business district about food-truck operators.

Phil Barone, owner of Rosie’s Italian Grille in Springfield Township, center, and supporters attend a Toledo City Council meeting held to discuss regulations for food truck vendors. Phil Barone, owner of Rosie’s Italian Grille in Springfield Township, center, and supporters attend a Toledo City Council meeting held to discuss regulations for food truck vendors.
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Mayor Collins backed away from the proposal after the lengthy and, at times, heated hearing.

“This was the beginning of a working document,” Mr. Collins said to council during its regular meeting, which was also Tuesday.

“It was not our intent to bring this forward for a vote,” he said. “I am taking the legislation back. I will await further discussion. ... I clearly heard today the stakeholders want a part of it.”

Ed Becyznski, the owner of Blarney Irish Pub and Focaccia’s Deli in the HCR ManorCare building, has said previously that he supports having vendors on the street, but wants food-truck service limited to one day a week because of the economic impact the trucks have on the eateries.

“I’m not worried about competition,” Mr. Becyznski said. “It makes my game better.”

Food-truck owners blasted the proposed legislation, which was based on existing law in Cincinnati, Law Director Adam Loukx said.

Councilman Sandy Spang said the city should develop its own rules governing food trucks rather than “cut and paste” the legislation from another city.

Councilman Steven Steel went a step further and questioned why changes were necessary as the city already has laws dictating the times food trucks can operate and that they must stay at least 100 feet from restaurants.

“Frankly, I don’t think we need most of this,” he said.

The mayor’s proposal would have created “competitively” restricted zones for food trucks to operate on North St. Clair Street at Levis Square between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesdays and on Michigan Street at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library on Wednesdays, also from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Nighttime” designated zones, between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., would include Adams Street between 12th and 21st streets; Superior Street between Monroe Street and Jefferson Avenue; St. Clair between Washington and Monroe streets; and Huron Street between Washington and Monroe streets.

Two other daytime zones would allow food trucks to operate during the workweek between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. near the Lucas County Courthouse on Ontario Street and on Constitution Avenue, near Toledo Municipal Court.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171 or on Twitter @IgnazioMessina.

 



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