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Lee's Summit City Council delays mobile...
Lee's Summit City Council delays mobile vendor decision
Jan. 6, 2011
Tensions linger between vendors, brick-and-mortar business owners
By Shelly Crenshaw Donovan
Lee’s Summit Tribune
Downtown Lee’s Summit – a quaint, beautifully restored historic shopping and dining district, perfect for a Friday night stroll, or the perfect location for enterprising mobile food vendors to serve those who want a snack after hitting the bars?
The Lee’s Summit City Council hasn’t decided yet and voted Thursday to delay a final ruling until the end of March.
The owner of the Little Italy food truck has also offered free Red Bull energy drinks to those who have been drinking, as she “tries to feed the drunks” before they get behind the wheel. She said that on New Year’s Eve, they called so many taxis for intoxicated would-be drivers that they finally had to call a tow truck driver to get the last downtown partier home safely.
The vendors currently have permits and up until Jan. 19, and others can also apply for a vendor’s license. City Councilmember Bob Johnson of District 4 made the point that “grandfathering” in these two vendors because they were already there could be considered legislating. He implied that the council could not amend the law itself, as new businesses should be decided upon by Lees Summit residents.
At issue is whether these new vendors and their mobile food trucks who received a temporary permit to do business in downtown Lee’s Summit in December are causing noise pollution, air pollution and taking up the very few current spaces allotted for brick and mortar businesses and their patrons to be able to park conveniently in front of their stores. The vendors claim that the noise is at a minimum, while business owner Tammy Tyner of the Downtown Deli said that she and her neighboring beauty shop have to go to the back of the store in order to take phone calls as the noise from the generators is so invasive.
“Limited parking on Third Street should not be taken up by vehicles that take up two to three parking spaces for hours at a time,” Tyner told the council.
The co-owner of the Little Italy truck says they arrive early for parking and then start running their trucks at around 8:30 for service from 9 p.m. until 2 am.
Kathy Hofmann, council member for district 1, attempted to set a specified time that these trucks were allowed to serve, but the issue was tabled for the final decision to be made in 90 days.
Tyner also offered a personal invitation to each council member to make their way through the downtown area to “hear the noise of the generators and the experience the vendor trucks personally.” She felt that since there seemed to be some confusion by a few council members as to the exact nature of the complaints, so they “should see what the direct impact is before the scheduled decision is made.”
Not just offering complaints but also a possible solution, Tyner mentioned that the vendors might find a new home at 4th and Douglas.
“The roads are wider there with less traffic, no residential areas and no businesses to compete with,” she said.
Tyner stressed she did not want to take away their free enterprise and entrepreneurship. She added that if the trucks would park end-to-end in one confined area, the generator pollution and noise would be confined to one area and the trucks would still be accessible to the bar patrons.
The council passed a motion to delay action on mobile food vendors until March 31.
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