Twinsburg seeks to regulate mobile food vendors

Ken Lahmers
Special to MyTownNEO

TWINSBURG – With the introduction of a proposed new chapter of the city’s codified ordinances at its Feb. 23 meeting, Council launched its intention to enact legislation to regulate the operation of mobile food vendors (food trucks).

Residents wishing to see the initial draft of the chapter can look under “agendas & minutes,” then “document center,” then “City Council,” then “2021 legislation” on the city’s website at www.mytwinsburg.com.

The new chapter would require a food truck operator to obtain a yearly permit from the building department for $75 and undergo a checklist inspection by the fire department.

The permit application would require the operator to provide information such as what types of food and beverages would be sold, proof of passing county health department inspections, a certificate of insurance providing for $1 million of liability coverage and written permission from a property owner to operate there.

The issuance of a permit would not entitle the holder to exclusive use of a location or access to the location if it is on public property, and the permit would not be transferable.

Other requirements would be the operator must provide the city with a lease or written consent to use the property, be responsible for collecting and disposing of refuse and not place refuse in any public or private container without permission.

Vendors could not obstruct street intersections, crosswalks or driveways; trucks could not be left unattended when vending is not taking place; amplified sound, balloons, streamers or flags would be prohibited; and all signage must be placed only on the private property.

The vendors could not set up tables, chairs, booths, bar stools, benches or counters unless such arrangements are submitted with the permit application and approved by the city, and vendors would be prohibited from operating at multiple sites in the city during any 24-hour period.

Hours of operation would be limited and designated by the city; vendors would be allotted 30 minutes for setup and 30 minutes for takedown, and no food truck could be located within 500 feet of the front door of an established food business.

It would be unlawful to operate a truck in or within 150 feet of any primary or secondary school, and the permit would be subject to limits of days and hours that the city determines so as to prevent conflict with special events.

The city would establish mobile food zones associated with public events on public or private property, and any licensed food vendor could apply for a temporary food zone permit to operate there. The city would select vendors from a list.

Food truck permits could be suspended or revoked if the operator is guilty of any fraud, false information on the application, misrepresentation, deception or wrongful act in connection with his or her business or is found not to be fit to engage in business.

Failure to abide by city ordinances, county health department regulations or state laws also would be grounds for revoking a permit.

Persons who violate provisions of the chapter would be guilty of a fourth-degree misdemeanor for the first offense and a first-degree misdemeanor for the second and subsequent offenses, and their permits would be revoked.

After Councilman Sam Scaffide raised concerns about a couple sections of the regulations, Law Director David Maistros said he will revise some language before the legislation goes to second reading at Council’s March 9 meeting.

Contact the newspaper at 330-541-9430, or twinsburgbulletin@recordpub.com.