BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Baltimore food truck owner is celebrating a temporary victory over the city of Baltimore.
Joey Vanoni and his attorneys challenged a law that stated food trucks weren’t allowed to operate within 300 feet of a restaurant that primarily sells the same foods. In Vanoni’s case, that’s pizza.
[Reporter: “Could you technically operate right here?”]
“Right here? No, I can’t,” the Pizza di Joey owner and operator said. “The reason for that is there is a pizzeria within 300 feet right over there and there’s three pizzerias right up the street, and that’s part of the problem.”
A judge ruled Wednesday that the law was too vague for anyone to properly enforce it, and the city has 60 days to clarify the law.
The city has a few options, one of which includes an appeal, and if that goes in their favor, food truck vendors could find themselves right back at square one.
The city’s lawyer issued the following statement:
“The ordinance regarding food trucks was intended to achieve commercial and economic equity between higher costs brick and mortar food vendors….and the less costly operation of food trucks.”
But Vanoni, who lives in Baltimore, said because he was never quite sure where he was allowed sell his pizza, he was forced across city lines to do business in Anne Arundel County.
There’s an estimated 75 food truck operators in Baltimore, according to the Maryland Mobile Food Vendors Association.
Vanoni and his lawyers say they are prepared to take the heat if the city chooses to appeal the judge’s order.
“The government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers in the free market” says Vanoni. “The people of Baltimore, they want options, they want choices and we are one of those choices.”
The city’s attorney says the mayor and city council will ultimately decide if they want to appeal the judge’s decision.