BALTIMORE, MD – Baltimore’s ban on food trucks operating within 300 feet of a brick-and-mortar restaurant with a similar product is too vague to enforce, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The opinion by Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Karen C. Friedman responded to a May 2016 lawsuit brought by food truck owners, who argued the rule unconstitutionally blocked competition and put them at an economic disadvantage. The case went to trial this past September.

In her decision, Friedman said that it was not unconstitutional for the city to regulate food trucks, but that the rule is so vague that “enforcement is likely to be subjective and arbitrary until the ordinance has been clarified by amendments.”

Robert Frommer, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, one of the lawyers representing the owners of Pizza di Joey and Mindgrub Cafe, said the decision was a victory for Baltimore food trucks, but that they planned to appeal the decision because it does not go far enough to protect food truck operators.

“It’s the first step toward food truck freedom and we’re going to keep fighting until consumers, not City Hall, can decide where they get their lunch,” Frommer said. “We are planning to appeal because the Maryland Constitution clearly prohibits cities from making it a crime to compete just to line the pockets of a preferred constituent.”

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