Legislation allowing ice cream trucks and other mobile food vendors to sell their products on city property could come before Marietta City Council next month, according to discussion during a meeting of council's planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee Tuesday.
"I will contact the city law director to get the legislation put together, hopefully by Aug. 1," said Councilman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, who chairs the planning committee.
He said current city code prohibits any mobile food vendors from operating on city property.
"But I believe that regulation was passed to prevent door-to-door food sales in the city," Kalter said. "This legislation would cover all mobile food vendors who would first have to meet all the criteria for food sales required by the city and county health departments."
Background checks could also be incorporated into the legislation, he said.
Kalter said Marietta's regulations could be based on food vendor legislation from other Ohio cities.
If you go
- Marietta City Council's streets and transportation committee meets at 4 p.m. today in the second floor conference room at 304 Putnam St. The current agenda includes discussion of the Community Action Bus Lines sub-recipient agreement with the city; mid-block crossing study results; Front Street crosswalks; and a request to operate a local taxi service.
- All council and committee meetings, except executive sessions, are open to the public.
- More city information is available at http://www.mariettaoh.net/
The sale of ice cream and other treats from vehicles traveling through Marietta neighborhoods became an issue earlier this year when a local vendor asked council members for permission to sell shaved ice cones from her van.
Elisha Tornes, owner of Penguin ParadIce, which sells Sno Biz shaved ice, said she had obtained county and state permits to sell the flavored ice, but was stopped from doing business on city streets by Marietta police who told her it was illegal within the city limits unless she was selling on private property.
Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, who did not attend Tuesday's meeting, has voiced opposition to vendors like Tornes selling on city neighborhood streets because he believes it puts children at risk of injury.
He said children have to venture into the streets in order to purchase the treats.
Vukovic has also noted the sweet confections can contribute to childhood obesity.
But his six fellow council members have indicated support for Tornes and other food vendors.
Kalter said he hopes legislation will be developed in time for a first reading by council at the next regular session in the community building at Lookout Park.
In other business Tuesday, the committee members discussed assessing a fine against repeat offenders of the city's nuisance laws.
"I've turned in several nuisance complaints from the 1st Ward area for people who are not taking care of weeds and overgrowth on their properties," Kalter said. "If a complaint is filed, the property is inspected and the owner is notified of the problem by certified letter."
If the owner does not comply, the city has to do the mowing, then charges the expense back to the owner's property taxes. But Kalter said there's no penalty assessed against those property owners who refuse to keep their grounds trimmed.
Safety-service director Jonathan Hupp said it costs the city at least $6 to send a certified letter to each property owner who's in violation of the nuisance property ordinance.
"And the city health department has mailed out at least 70 to 80 of those letters so far this year," he said.
Hupp noted there are also indirect costs incurred by the city, including money spent on manpower and equipment if city workers have to clean up the property in question.
He suggested setting a penalty of $100 to prevent repeat offenses of the nuisance property code.
The committee members agreed.
"We're probably spending at least $60 to respond to each of these complaints," Kalter said.
Also on Tuesday, Kalter said the city is currently operating under the 1998 version of the International Property Management Code, which allows one unlicensed and inoperable vehicle to be stored on private property within the city.
"I know one property owner who's had a junk car in his yard for at least seven years now," he said.
Kalter said the 2012 version of the International Property Management Code allows no unlicensed and inoperable vehicles on private property.
Wayne Rinehart, the city's code administrator, said city council would have to adopt the 2012 IPMC before it could be used to regulate junk vehicles within the city limits.