Marietta eyeing mobile food vendor legislation

MARIETTA – A draft copy of proposed legislation governing mobile food vendors on public property within the city of Marietta was distributed during a meeting of city council’s planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee Tuesday.

“This is a rough draft based on an ordinance from Louisville (Ky.),” said committee chairman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward.

For more than a year Kalter has been pushing for legislation that would enable mobile vendors to sell items like shaved ice, ice cream, sandwiches and other food products from a vehicle in some city parks and other municipal properties.

He said city law director Paul Bertram III had “tweaked” the proposed ordinance from the 72-page Louisville document to accommodate any issues specific to Marietta.

“One thing, for example is that these vendors would have to operate more than 150 feet from any brick-and-mortar establishment while it is open for business,” Kalter said.

He said city code does not allow food vendors on any city properties, including in local city-owned ball parks.

“I’ve heard that some leagues used to run concessions at the ball parks to raise money that could be used for lights or other needs,” Kalter said.

Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, asked what the mobile vendor license would cost.

“It would be $100 a year,” answered council president Walt Brothers. “But my question is whether that’s a fair fee?”

He noted the draft ordinance sets the hours for mobile food vendors from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.

“This is just a rough draft at this point – nothing’s set in marble,” Kalter said. “But I would like to pursue this so we can have an ordinance available for vendors by May 1.”

He asked the committee members to review the proposed legislation and be ready to discuss it during another meeting tentatively scheduled at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the second floor conference room at 304 Putnam St.

In other business Tuesday, Kalter said he would like to have legislation ready in a month to amend the city’s property management code, adopted in 1998, to reflect the latest International Property Management Code established in 2012.

“I would also like to introduce additional legislation setting enforcement and penalties (for violation of the amended code),” he said.

Vukovic agreed.

“There’s no point in adopting an amended code unless the other piece for enforcement is also put in place,” he said. “If we’re not going to enforce it, why update the ordinance?”

Kalter said the enforcement ordinance would have to include the hiring of a full- or part-time code enforcement officer.

City safety-service director Jonathan Hupp said the administration has had brief discussions with the law director about the proposed enforcement officer position. He said due to the requirement for benefits, a full-time position could have a significant cost.

Kalter said he hoped to introduce both pieces of legislation in a month.

Copies of the 40-page 2012 International Property Management Code are available for viewing by the public at the Washington County Public Library on Fifth Street, in the city council clerk’s office at 308 Putnam St., at the law director’s office in the Marietta Municipal Court building on the corner of Third and Butler streets, and at city hall, 301 Putnam St.

Council members have copies of the 2012 IPMC booklet.