City Council discusses mobile food vendor law

Mobile vendors could finally have the ability to sell hot dogs, shaved ice and other treats on some city-owned properties, according to legislation discussed during a meeting of Marietta City Council’s planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee Tuesday.

The measure amends portions of Chapter 722 of the city code pertaining to peddlers, solicitors, canvassers and mobile food vendor operation within the city limits to allow, with some exceptions, mobile vendors in Lookout Park, Indian Acres Park, Buckeye Park, Jackson Hill Park and Flanders Field.

“But you would have to have permission so that there’s no conflict with other concessions that are already operating in the parks,” committee chairman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, told the mobile vendors who attended Tuesday’s meeting.

He was referring to food concessions operated by the Marietta Softball Association on ball fields at Buckeye Park and Indian Acres Park. Mobile vendors would have to obtain written permission from the softball association through the city public facilities department before being allowed to sell items in those areas.

Another exception at Indian Acres Park is the Marietta Aquatic Center, according to the proposed amended legislation, although anyone leasing the aquatic center for a private pool party could give mobile vendors permission to sell food during those events, said city law director Paul Bertram III.

“If you want to set up your mobile vending on any private property within the city, you do not have to pay a licensing fee to the city of Marietta,” he said.

But to operate in all of the designated city parks a vendor on foot would have to pay a licensing fee of $5 a week, $15 per month or $100 a year.

Hand cart vendors would pay $7.50 per week, $20 a month or $100 per year for a permit to operate in the city parks.

And vendors working from wagons or motor vehicles would pay $10 a week, $25 per month or $100 annually for the right to sell products on the park properties.

During annual festivals, street fairs and other community events, mobile vendors would also be permitted to sell wares in East or West Muskingum parks or on the Armory Square grounds from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. by obtaining a no-cost permit from the city safety-service director.

“During the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival, for example, if you want to vend at East Muskingum Park during that event you would require a special permit from the safety-service director, and there would be no cost for that permit,” Bertram explained.

He noted that during the annual Marietta Sweet Corn Festival the festival committee basically “owns” East Muskingum Park for that event, and mobile vendors wanting to operate in the park during that time period would have to obtain permission from the festival organizers.

The proposed mobile vendor legislation has already been through the required three readings by city council, but the measure was tabled for further consideration and some fine-tuning in committee.

Kalter said the legislation would be brought back to council for a final vote during the July 18 meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the community building at Lookout Park.

Also during a special city council session Tuesday, the council members unanimously approved a resolution to submit the projected tax budget for 2014 to the county auditor.

“This is a statutory issue we have to submit to the county auditor every year, and this budget has to be submitted by July 17,” said Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, who chairs the council finance committee.

The tax budget is an estimate of the next year’s municipal revenues and expenditures that must be submitted annually to the Washington County Auditor to continue receiving reimbursement from state tax revenues.