BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Joey Vanoni of Pizza di Joey, is one of two food truck vendors suing Baltimore City.
“This law is clearly un-American. It’s anti-competitive, it protects one group over another and it discriminates me based on my menu,” Vanoni said to a judge from the witness stand Thursday.
Pizza is Vanoni’s food truck specialty, but if a brick-and-mortar restaurant has pizza or other Italian foods on its menu, a Baltimore law says he must park his truck a football field’s length away.
It’s called the 300-foot rule.
“The 300-foot rule is an incredibly burdensome barrier on mobile vendors throughout Baltimore,” said Robert Frommer of the Institute for Justice.
“So I’m compelled to leave the City and go down to Anne Arundel County and try to operate my business down there,” Vanoni said.
The 300-foot rule holds for all trucks. Vendors can’t serve the same food as a nearby restaurant.
The City’s lawyers say the law treats all trucks equally, that there’s no proof of financial harm, and no fines or penalties have ever been leveled.
Violating the 300-foot law can mean a $500 fine, even the loss of a license to do business.
“It is absolutely a violation of the Maryland constitution,” Frommer said.
“It sounds ridiculous, but if I served Chinese food and tried to park near a pizzeria it wouldn’t be a problem. Just because I serve pizza, that’s the problem,” Vanoni said.
A judge is hearing the lawsuit and testimony is expected to conclude Friday.