COLUMBUS, OH – The city of Columbus is promising new laws next year to regulate how businesses serve meals after tensions escalated among food-truck owners and city officials, neighborhood leaders and restaurant owners.

columbus food truck

City council aides sat down with food-truck owners, Short North neighborhood leaders and restaurant owners late last week to air grievances. Issues have been bubbling as the popularity of food trucks has exploded in the city, with an estimated 150 or so popping up in the past 18 months.

Food-truck owners say the city’s laws are outdated and do not conform to their businesses. Restaurant owners want clearer regulations on when and where the trucks can park and want the food-truck owners to pay similar sales tax.

Neighborhood leaders in the Short North are mostly frustrated by the amount of trash that the trucks’ customers leave behind.

“There were about 30 people in the room, and everyone had a chance to voice their concerns,” said John Ivanic, city council spokesman. “No determinations were reached, and we hope to have some results from our side by the summer.”

The city also has agreed to dismiss a citation and fine levied against Tatoheads owner Daniel McCarthy that were the catalysts for the meeting. McCarthy took to Facebook and Twitter this month to voice his frustration about how the city was implementing its laws on street vendors.

“Basically, this was a he-said-she-said case, and one of my employees was cited for not having a license,” McCarthy said yesterday. “I had the proper permit. The problem is, my employee is a cook and was not handling cash, so he did not need a license.”

The city requires food-truck owners and street vendors to obtain a commercial-sales permit. McCarthy said there were no sales taking place at the time of the citation so his employee should not have been cited.

Find the entire article by Lucas Sullivan at the Columbus Dispatch <here>