TOWSON, MD - Towson restaurant owners and food truck advocates said during a Baltimore County Council work session Tuesday that they support a proposed bill that would establish a pilot program to regulate food trucks in downtown Towson.
“Food trucks would like to be a part of Towson as it grows and goes through its redevelopment,” Damian Bohager, president of the Maryland Mobile Food Vendors Association, told the council. “We think it’s a great idea as a pilot program and we look forward to revisiting it in a couple years.”
County law doesn’t currently regulate the food trucks, which park streetside and serve customers on the sidewalks. Several have set up in Towson in recent years, but without official regulation that establishes where they can set up and how they can operate. For that reason, many street food vendors simply avoid Baltimore County.
But the reform legislation, which is scheduled to go before a council vote on Tuesday, could change that in downtown Towson.
The legislation arose from a Planning Board study commissioned in 2011 and completed in summer 2013. Many aspects of the planning study, which includes creation of a food truck license, will remain as part of the pilot program. But the board’s recommendation of a county-wide 300-foot buffer from restaurants was later changed by the council.
During later negotiations between the food vendors association and county officials, the 300-foot buffer was agreed upon for downtown Towson, with a 100-foot buffer applied elsewhere in the county. When the legislation was changed to a pilot program, the 100-foot buffer was dropped elsewhere in the county.
In Towson, under the pilot program, food trucks would be prohibited from parking on York Road, as well as Chesapeake, Allegheny and Pennsylvania avenues between Washington Avenue and York Road.
“It’s so important, not to protect the brick-and-mortar businesses here but to protect their parking in front of their stores,” Nancy Hafford, a Planning Board member and executive director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce, said during the hearing.
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