Here we go again. It appears that the Mayor of Albany, OR has missed the boat on the mobile food industry. Mayor Konopa seems to feel that it is unfair for her restaurant owning constituents to have to compete with food carts even though brick and mortar restaurants hold a large advantage over their mobile competitors such as walls, ceilings, conditioned air, tables, chairs, etc…

ALBANY, OR – Marilyn Smith, city of Albany spokeswoman, said more local entrepreneurs want to operate food carts and that’s why the City Council decided to look into a wide-ranging set of issues regarding the businesses.

“There are enough people interested in food carts that it’s one of those things we’ll have to deal with sooner or later,” said Bob Richardson, city of Albany planning manager.

Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa said the issue is divisive, however. She added that it wasn’t fair for brick and mortar restaurants to lose business to temporary eateries, which don’t have many of the expenses of a permanent business.

“How many are you going to allow? Does it open up a Pandora’s box of a lot of food carts?” Konopa asked.

Encke said that, with more than 100,000 people in Albany and Corvallis, there are plenty of customers to go around.

Simi said that if sit-down restaurants were worried about food carts, they should do one simple thing: “Step up your quality,” he said.

Food carts in Albany currently fall under policies for temporary merchants and vendors. Carts can get a license for 30 days or less for $50, or pay $100 to get a license for 120 days or less. Those can be added together as well for a 150-day stay at one location during any calendar year.

If the business stays for longer, it is considered permanent and subject to the requirements of Albany’s development code.

Smith said that food carts and taxi cabs are the only types of operations that must get business licenses from the city of Albany.

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