Food cart regulation approved by Middletown Town Council

By Tom Lehman 11:51pm, December 3, 2012 - Updated 11:04am, December 4, 2012
Middletown Mayor Ken Branner and Vice-Mayor Jim Reynolds discuss the new law
A new law passed by Middletown's Town Council requires vendors who want to operate a street-side food cart to go through a more formalized process to receive approval.

WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.

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In order to get a conditional use permit, vendors will now have to meet standards set by the state Division of Public Health and face the planning and zoning commission before facing Council.

The law also requires a vendor to be able to be able to dispose grease and waste properly from their food cart and have written permission from the owner of the private property where the cart would be located.

Mayor Ken Branner says the new law clearly defines what vendors will need to show in order to get conditional use approval.

"What we really wanted to do was make it a process, where each one of the vendors comes before Middletown and explain exactly what it is they're going to be doing and then we'll issue a conditional use for that vendor," he says.

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Branner says the new law is something that other cities and towns have utilized and doesn't drastically change how vendors would apply for the permit. Comments at an October public hearing led to Council removing language that referred to food cart vendors not paying local taxes.

The town currently has one vendor who operates a food cart with the conditional use permit. He would be unaffected by the new law.

"It's not anything that other municipalities haven't done, we want to be consistent with what others do. We listened to the public and we just want to give a process to issuing conditional use permits, that's really all it is," he says.

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During discussion of the law, Vice-Mayor Jim Reynolds brought up regulation of ice cream trucks, but unlike the food cart law, he proposed the protection of local youth and non-profit sports leagues that benefit from proceeds collected at the concession stand.

The new law did not address the issue, which prompted Reynolds to propose it. He says he will contact local groups to learn whether the proceeds of events are affected by ice cream trucks.

"Everybody likes the ice cream truck when it comes by and you're a little kid, but we don't want them to take away from these non-profit organizations, and we're gonna handle that with a separate ordinance," Reynolds says.

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