TOWNSON, MD - Legislation that clarifies Baltimore County’s food truck regulations was introduced to the Baltimore County Council Monday night, and if passed, would allow the popular mobile vendors to continue to cater to the downtown Towson business crowd.
“Food trucks are an important part of the diversity of choices in Downtown Towson,” Councilman David Marks, who introduced the bill, said Monday in a statement. “They offer quick food for people who want faster service. They can exist side by side with sit-down restaurants, but should not crowd out those restaurants.”
A lack of clear standards for the trucks has caused many operators to steer clear of setting up food trucks in the county seat. Established brick-and-mortar restaurant owners complained that the food trucks infringed on their businesses, but no applicable regulations protected them.
For that reason, the Maryland Mobile Food Vendors Association requested in 2011 that the county examine its food truck regulations. Over several months, planning staff met with Towson-area business groups and the vendors association to hear each side’s concerns. Issues included parking, health regulations and how close the food trucks could park from brick-and-mortar restaurants.
It became evident that officials needed to start by codifying what a food truck was under the county code. The legislation introduced Monday defines a food truck as a “self-contained mobile vehicle that sells food from the curb side of the vehicle to customers on the curb side of the street.”
But the main issue to work out was to determine how far a distance the food trucks would park from the brick-and-mortar restaurants.
The new legislation states that in downtown Towson, food trucks would be prohibited from parking within 300 feet of a restaurant with the buffer zone just 100 feet everywhere else. This means that food trucks would be prohibited from parking on York Road, as well as Chesapeake, Allegheny and Pennsylvania avenues between Washington Avenue and York Road.
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