October 25, 2014
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Food trucks moving down the street
Tracey O'Neill

Cranston food truck vendors will have to move their wares further down the street after the City Council voted to approve an amendment to Ordinance Title 5, Chapter 44 of the Code of the City of Cranston pertaining to Itinerant Food Vendors.

The proposal entitled 4.44.070 - Locational states that “No food shall be sold by Itinerant Food vendors within one thousand (1,000) feet of any established business licensed to sell food by the city, nor within three hundred (300) feet of places of worship one-half hour before, during, or one-half hour after service or activities within such places of worship.”

The council voted 5-2 to uphold the ordinance with Councilors Lee and Stykos voting against. Councilors Botts and Farina were absent.

Testimony at the June 24 meeting of the council had several vendors approach the podium requesting that the amendment be struck down as imposition of the restriction, moving vendors a minimum of 1,000 feet away from brick and mortar restaurants, would pose a hardship to their businesses.

Resident and food truck operator Frank Bates expressed his belief that the food truck industry was adding benefit to the Cranston economy.

“The 250-foot restriction is fine,” said Bates. “The legislation is fine.”

Councilman Richard Santamaria proposed the ordinance change that has seen considerable argument in the past.

According to Santamaria, the issue is lopsided.

“Brick and mortar businesses have to pay property taxes, have leases, licenses that vendors don’t have,” he said.

Stephen C. Boyle, president of the Chamber of Commerce, spoke on behalf of area businesses.

“My role is to represent the brick and mortar members of the city business community,” said Boyle. “The food truck vendors are paying a small drop in the bucket compared to what a brick and mortar business has to do. I urge passage of Mr. Santamaria’s motion.”

Bob Coleman, owner of the Cranston Deli & Pub on Park Avenue, agreed with Boyle and Santamaria, stating that 250 feet was too close.

“I am supporting Councilman Santamaria in what I know will effect my business during peak hours,” said Coleman. “I know it is a ‘not in my backyard’ thing.”


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