Oakwood wants more restrictions before allowing food trucks in the city

Oakwood officials on Monday declined to pass an ordinance that would have allowed food trucks to do business on city streets for the first time and instead proposed a new ordinance that would put more restrictions on the practice.

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“In a nutshell, we changed the ordinance so that food trucks would be permitted on an ‘event’ basis only, and only at the request of Oakwood property owners,” City Manager Norbert Klopsch said.

“In other words, food trucks would not be able to obtain a general permit and then operate freely around the community. Given that Oakwood is almost entirely residential, this change seems to better fit the community.”

Law Director Rob Jacques said the new proposed ordinance better integrates food trucks into the community.

“What I think we heard from residents pretty consistently was that they didn’t like the unknown,” he said. “Particularly residents who live near our public parks and schools. This new ordinance gives a little bit more control and flexibility to locate food trucks in other locations.”

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Although the ordinance that was proposed did identify streets and areas where operations would be prohibited, like Shroyer Road and Far Hills Avenue, some felt it didn’t go far enough to limit the possibility of setting up shop in residential areas.

“There were specific areas we had spelled out that were non-operational zones,” Jacques said. “Under the original ordinance the vendor would come in here and apply for and obtain and annual license and they would be free to set up whenever and wherever they wanted to, subject to those limitations.”

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If council adopts the new proposed ordinance, which is scheduled for an Aug. 6 vote, Jacques said, “we would go from an open system where a vendor can operate freely and whenever and wherever they want to subject to limitations to a permitted system where they are instructed on where they have to locate.”

Permits would be issued on a first-come, first-served basis, and the city would only be issuing three per event.

“Permits are required for public and private events,” Jacques said. “But there is an exception built in that allows the city manager to increase the number of permits for an event if he feels that the location can satisfy the extra vendors in terms of space and general location. But I don’t think that Oakwood, because it is so residential, is set-up for food truck rallies.”

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Resident Michelle Tucker said she is happy that city officials are putting the more restrictive ordinance in place regarding food trucks.

“We do love the food trucks, but having them parked right in front of our front door is not a good idea,” she said.

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