City allows mobile food vendors in some parks

Marietta City Council on Thursday approved legislation allowing mobile food vendors to operate in some city parks.

The ordinance amends portions of Chapter 722 of the city code pertaining to peddlers, solicitors, canvassers and mobile food vendor operations 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.

The main exception would be during ball games at the Indian Acres and Buckeye Park facilities where concession stands are operated by boosters for the Marietta Softball Association.

“This basically allows food vendors within certain city parks,” explained Councilman Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, who chairs council’s planning, zoning, annexation and housing committee.

“It would not allow food vendors to sell on city sidewalks in front of downtown businesses,” he added.

The ordinance does not prevent mobile food vendors from selling on private properties within the city limits.

Council voted 5-1 to approve the final measure, with Councilman Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, casting the dissenting vote. (Councilman Steve Thomas, D-3rd Ward, was out of town and unable to attend Thursday’s meeting.)

“I think this will cause problems for the softball leagues concessions,” he said. “We don’t allow competition for the city’s concession stand at the Marietta Aquatic Center, and I believe we should do the same at our city parks.”

Council unanimously adopted another ordinance governing obstructions placed on city sidewalks in front of downtown businesses. The measure requires written warnings to be issued for initial violations of the ordinance, and sets penalties for subsequent violations that block safe pedestrian navigation along the sidewalks.

One measure to appropriate funds for state-mandated newspaper advertising of city ordinances failed to pass on the first reading Thursday night after Councilman Mike McCauley, D-2nd Ward, voted against suspending the second and third readings.

Vukovic, who chairs council’s finance committee, said the $5,000 appropriation was needed to pay for newspaper publication of general ordinances that are passed by council.

But McCauley said he objected to the city’s being forced to buy the advertising.

Because it takes six votes to suspend the second and third readings of an ordinance, the measure was not passed on first reading.

“I don’t know how we’re going to pay this bill,” Vukovic said. “There’s no money to publish the city ordinances and resolutions in the paper.”

City law director Paul Bertram III said because Marietta is a statutory municipality, as opposed to a charter city, state code requires publication of general ordinances adopted by council within 10 days of the measure being passed.

Vukovic said the city has paid $7,700 to publish ordinances between March and June of this year.

Bertram noted more than 300 ordinances have been considered by the current council since taking office in January 2012.

Also on Thursday, council authorized a total of $14,400 to have Pickering Associates of Parkersburg provide construction administration services during the painting of the city’s North Hills water tank and the solids contact tank at the city water treatment plant.

A resolution authorizing a subrecipient agreement to help support ReStore Marietta’s downtown revitalization program was also unanimously passed by the council members. Council has pledged $10,000 from the annual Community Development Block Grant entitlement to support ReStore’s efforts.

Vukovic noted that the funding will be forwarded to ReStore once the city receives its 2013 CDBG entitlement.