Scranton City Council Proposes Rules to Protect Restaurants
SCRANTON, PA - Scranton City Council on Thursday introduced new rules for food trucks that would require them to park farther from restaurants, bar them from operating overnight and increase their annual license fee.
However, the outcome of the proposal likely will hinge on whatever recommendations may be made to the city by the mobile vendors and brick-and-mortar establishments, after both sides meet next week to try to reach an agreement on what the new rules should be, council members said.
Council voted 5-0 on the introduction of each of three ordinances on the issue, including to repeal and replace a prior ordinance and amend the city code.
- Defining food trucks and carts
- Increasing their distance from restaurants to 250 feet, up from a required 100 feet now.
- Raise an annual license fee from around $150 to $500
- Prohibit them from operating overnight between 30 minutes before sunset and 8 a.m.
Stressing that the proposal is not set in stone, council members said the administration crafted the changes and they likely would be amended before adoption to take into account input of restaurants and food trucks.
Food truck owners have expressed concern about increasing the distance they must stay away from restaurants beyond 100 feet. An initial version of the draft rules called for a 500-foot distance that mobile vendors said would shut them out of downtown.
Because of those concerns, the administration shortened the distance to 250 feet, council President Janet Evans said.
Jo Marie Yamin, owner of “Eats” food truck for the past six years, said even a 250-foot requirement would be a hardship on mobile vendor
“If this passes, it’s really going to be a detriment to all the vendors because really we’re not going to have a place to park. Even 250 (feet) really limits us a lot,” Ms. Yamin said. “It doesn’t seem fair … Scranton is a great, great city. It has so much potential, and it seems like every time it steps forward it takes 10 steps back.”
Ms. Yamin also spoke of her pride in owning and operating a food truck and said she supports the city by buying foods locally. The trucks a
lso benefit the city, they have been embraced by the public and have become part of the city’s culture, she said.
Some residents agreed. Pine Brook resident Mary Chilipko said of food trucks, “I think we should just leave them alone.” Remarking on Ms. Yamin’s comments about enjoying her work, Ms. Chilipko drew a laugh from the crowd when she said, “I watched this lady come up here tonight. I never saw anybody so happy about their job in Scranton.”
Mrs. Evans said council wants to see both sides reach a consensus.
Councilman Bob McGoff also noted council does not want to shut food trucks out of downtown, but rather wants to promote dialogue between the two sides in updating rules that are fair to both. To that end, Leslie Collins, executive director of Scranton Tomorrow, a nonprofit community and economic development organiza
Councilman Pat Rogan also is hoping for a compromise but said he would oppose any new rules that would increase the distance from 100 feet.tion, met with brick-and-mortar establishments Wednesday to get their input. She will meet Tuesday with food truck vendors and hold a joint meeting Thursday with both sides, Mr. McGoff said.
Councilman Frank Joyce said that if food trucks and restaurants cannot come to an agreement on new rules, he would vote against adopting the ordinances as they now stand.
Find the entire article by Jim Lockwood at thetimes-tribune.com <here>