The Oshkosh Common Council modified and adopted a mobile vending ordinance to cover all vendors, food or otherwise, operating in the city Tuesday night.
Councilors made changes to the ordinance in response to complaints and concerns from North Main Street tavern and restaurant owners who attended the meeting to express opposition to food trucks’ presence downtown.
The ordinance originally required mobile vendors to pay a $50 permit fee, cease operation by 3 a.m. nightly, stay out of city parking lots and off the river walk, and stay at least 25 feet from any full-service kitchen.
Councilors amended the ordinance so the permit fee is $100, operations must cease by bar time each night and mobile vendors must stay at least 37.5 feet (just shy of the 38-foot-wide North Main Street) from any full-service kitchen.
Distillery Pub owner April Chase said mobile vendors do nothing but take business away from brick and mortar operations. She said she wanted the ordinance much stronger.
“I think it should be 100 feet (from a kitchen),” Chase said. ”
You have in your ordinance … that they can be within 25 feet of our business. I think that’s just crazy. I just can’t see how that would benefit. It’s taking away from us.”
Hot Dog Charlie’s owner Charles Nichols said he could live with the council’s changes and said they’re fair. He also responded to criticism of food trucks from brick and mortar business owners by saying he hopes to open a brick and mortar location, but had to start somewhere.
“I like it the way it is. My goal is to have a storefront downtown eventually, but you’ve got to start somewhere and work your way up,” Nichols said. “I want to have employees. I want to provide benefits. I want to provide jobs to other people.”
The ordinance will take effect before Memorial Day weekend.
In other business, councilors:
- Voted to dissolve tax incremental financing district 6, which helped develop infrastructure for the Northwest Industrial Park. The district has a positive balance of about $900,000 that will be distributed to taxing entities following a final audit of the district’s finances. And
- Approved a variance to allow construction crews to close Jackson Street from Church Avenue to Algoma Boulevard for five days, from April 29 to May 3, so crews can install a storm sewer pipe across Jackson Street. The pipe is part of the stormwater storage tank being constructed beneath the city hall parking lot at present. It will deliver storm water from the tank down Jackson Street where it will flow into the Fox River.