Home Off the Wire Toledo Council Backs Away From Restrictive Food Truck Law

Toledo Council Backs Away From Restrictive Food Truck Law

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TOLEDO, OH - 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.

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.

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, said 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.

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