After years of discussion, Columbus has new regulations that will allow vendors to sell a taco, pita or other food from a truck parked on a city street. The city council approved the food-truck legislation unanimously last night, allowing food trucks to park and conduct business on city streets for the first time.
After years of discussion, Columbus has new regulations that will allow vendors to sell a taco, pita or other food from a truck parked on a city street.
The city council approved the food-truck legislation unanimously last night, allowing food trucks to park and conduct business on city streets for the first time. Previously, trucks could park and sell their food only on private property.
About a month ago, food-truck owners were decrying an earlier version of the rules. Now, they’re commending the city.
“They did, for the most part, what we wanted to see, and, overall, they listened to us,” said Brian Reed, president of the Central Ohio Food Truck Association and owner of the Mojo Tago truck.
Reed and the association, whose membership has grown from 11 food trucks in mid-2012 to more than 30 today, worried that the earlier proposal was not specific enough and could be used to harm their businesses.
He said that Councilwoman Michelle M. Mills addressed those concerns in recent weeks.
“It has been a long journey,” said Mills, who started working on the issue in 2012.
The Central Ohio Restaurant Association, which met with food-truck owners, also supports the legislation.
The new rules create an appeals process for restaurant owners who want food trucks parked near their establishments to move.
Tom Hart, an attorney for the restaurant association, said Columbus restaurants were never concerned about added competition from food trucks. Rather, he said, they worried that too many people massing between a restaurant and a truck could create safety problems.
Food trucks have to undergo health and fire inspections, pay inspection and license fees of at least $180, and pay a $250 annual fee for a permit to park on city streets. An advisory board of city employees, community members and food-truck owners will pick designated spots for vending and review and propose new rules for the trucks.
Trucks will reserve specific spots in congested areas such as the Short North; there will be 20 spots, with the locations to be determined. In other commercial areas, trucks can use the first and last spot on any block. Vending is not allowed without a special permit in noncommercial areas, such as residential areas.
Also last night, the city council approved tax incentives for four expanding businesses:
• NBBJ architects will receive a six-year, 65 percent property-tax abatement on $2 million in investment that the firm plans to make at 250 S. High St. The tax break is worth $109,590. NBBJ will add 16 jobs with salaries ranging from $53,000 to $150,000 per year.
• Kimball Midwest motor supply will receive a 10-year, 75 percent property-tax abatement on $7.8 million in planned improvements to its facility at 4800 Roberts Rd.
The tax break is worth $1.8 million. Kimball will add 60 jobs with wages of $25,000 or $50,000 per year.
The council also approved paying Kimball an amount equal to half of the new income taxes those employees pay for five years, a benefit that would total $140,000 over five years.
• Airside One, a commercial real-estate leasing firm, will receive a 10-year, 75 percent property-tax abatement on $6 million in improvements that it’s making to property on Bridgeway Avenue at Port Columbus.
The tax break is worth nearly $1.2 million. Airside One says the project will create 10 jobs, each with pay of $35,000 per year.
• Fireproof Partners, which is redeveloping its Fireproof Storage building at 1024 N. High St., will receive a 15-year, 50 percent tax abatement on $11.3 million in investment. The tax break is worth about $650,000.
Fireproof Partners says the project will create 24 jobs, with pay ranging from $33,800 to $58,240 per year.
Will Drabold is a fellow in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau.