BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A battle for turf is brewing between the city and food truck owners, and now it’s headed to court.
WJZ’s George Solis has more.
Two Baltimore food truck owners have filed a 21-page lawsuit challenging the city’s proximity ban that prevents mobile vendors from operating within 300 feet of a brick-and-mortar business that sells the same type of food.
Involved in the suit are the Pizza di Joey food truck, the Madame BBQ food truck and the Institute for Justice.
That firm has won similar food truck battles in other major cities like Atlanta and San Antonio.
“Due to the 300 foot rule we are prohibited from operating in most of the neighborhoods we would love to operate in,” says truck owner Joey Vanoni. He lists Canton, Federal Hill and Fells Point as examples.
For comparison, a football field is about 360 feet long.
“I’ve seen Dunkin’ Donuts next to Krispy Kreme,” says Madame BBQ owner Nikki McGowan. “There’s pizza places, a pizza place here and pizza place next door. If it makes them work harder to make better places for the public then I think that’s fantastic.”
She says Baltimore “could be like Disneyland for food,” if the restrictions were lifted.
“We’re not trying to claim an unfair advantage,” Vanoni adds. “We’re just trying to have equal access to success and opportunity.”
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s office released a statement on the litigation Wednesday afternoon.
“The food truck issue is much ado about nothing,” it says. “The Mayor and City Council have the authority to regulate public rights of way and the City frequently places limitations on what is and is not permitted in various locations. By way of example, the City prohibits commercial vehicles from being parked overnight on residential streets, we all know that certain parking locations are designated for handicapped only, and even other spaces are limited to certain governmental uses. We look forward to the legal system working through the facts of the case.”