NSVI- Akron Vending
MAY 2014 UPDATE: In May, City Council passed an anti-competitive ordinance that prohibits food trucks from operating within 200 feet of a brick-and-mortar restaurant. It also makes food truck owners pay a $225 application fee—and another $1,750 to operate in specific locations downtown. The intent of the outrageous fee is clearly protectionist: Councilman Jeff Fusco said, “I am proud of the investment we have made in downtown..[i]t’s our responsibility to protect and not give away our downtown.” Read IJ’s op-ed, “No recipe for success in Akron.”
Akron currently prohibits food trucks from operating on public property. This ban is unconstitutional and harms the communities that are being denied the many benefits of food trucks. In 2013, food trucks met with the Institute for Justice and formed the Greater Akron Food Truck Coalition. The Coalition advocates for laws that will allow food trucks to operate in the city, and ensure that food trucks meet the same health and safety standards as brick-and-mortar restaurants. The Coalition supports legislation that is narrowly tailored to protecting the public’s health and safety, while allowing trucks to freely operate on public streets. In response, the City Council formed a committee to study whether food trucks should be allowed in Akron, which is currently meeting.
Some brick-and-mortar restaurants and the Downtown Akron Partnership have advocated against opening up Akron’s streets to food trucks, fearing that the competition the trucks create will hurt their businesses. But banning food trucks in order to protect established businesses from competition is unconstitutional.
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