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Uhrichsville Council considering event, food truck regulations

| April 26, 2024

UHRICHSVILLE (WJER) (April 26, 2024) – Uhrichsville Farmers Market organizers have been weighing in on two pieces of legislation that city leaders are considering.

Laura Gray and others who spoke during Thursday’s city council meeting say they aren’t against regulations but believe the ones being proposed for special events and mobile food vendors are intrusive and over-reaching. 

“I urge city council to review these ordinances, review their legal implications, consult local organizations and business leaders, and move forward in the best interest of all. The goal is the safety of a thriving community, not authoritarianism.” 

The city doesn’t currently require permits for either, which Law Director Jeff Merklin says is a huge risk financially and from a liability standpoint.

“The other concern I have is our existing policy of insurance… I think the cancellation of that would be a major potential problem if we allow food trucks, special events and the like to occur without some regulation.”

Merklin wrote the two ordinances at the request of the council’s Safety Committee and clarified that the one applies to food trucks and trailers, not each individual vendor in the market.

“Street vending in here is what it’s defined here. It means the operating, controlling, or managing of a mobile food vending unit or conducting business as a mobile food vendor. So it’s not tied into wheels, not churches or anything like that.”

One of the biggest sources of concern was the requirement that permit applicants provide their social security number, a provision Merklin said he borrowed from one of the other communities.

“It doesn’t have to be in there. It seemed like a good idea from the one that I looked out that had it in there but we can take that out…It’s not intended to be offensive to anybody. If it needs to be taken out, that’s ok.”

Mayor Jim Zucal says it’s not about shutting anything down but protecting the city in the event of property damage or injury.

“It’s a permit. It’s a fee. It’s a proof of liability insurance. It’s a sign-off by department heads, and it’s scheduling. I don’t think it’s anything that’s uncommon to any other city.” 

Attendees were asked to submit their questions and concerns in writing so Merklin can review them and recommend changes. The two proposals are scheduled for a second reading during the May 9th city council meeting and a vote two weeks later.

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