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Business & Economy

After hours food truck operations in Columbus discussed during public hearing

Adam's Eden Food Truck.jpg
Renee Fox/WOSU
Adam Wallace operates Feed the Need Food Carts and Adam’s Eden Food Truck. He says cutting food truck hours isn’t the answer to public intoxication, crime, congestion or noise when local bars let out.

Discussions that could ultimately alter the character of Columbus’ late-night food truck scene continue Tuesday afternoon during a public hearing at Columbus City Hall.

One food truck operator says cutting hours of operation isn’t the answer to public intoxication, crime, congestion or noise when the bars let out.

Adam Wallace operates Feed the Need Food Carts and Adam’s Eden Food Truck. As he sold gyros, bourbon chicken and fries on Ohio State University’s campus during the Tuesday lunch hour, he said city council’s proposed legislation isn’t fair.

“They're just pushing the blame directly to food carts, saying that we cause congestion," Wallace said. “We are just people trying to make a living, serving food peacefully.”

At a public hearing in November, Columbus police said the presence of the food trucks encourage the bargoers to linger, causing noise, congestion and crime.

“Food carts have been operational for decades, and for decades there have not been the issues. There’ve been a couple incidents with individual people that come out of bars that are intoxicated. But that's nothing...we don't serve alcohol, we serve food,” Wallace said.

Wallace said car ride services are causing the congestion because they force the people waiting for an Uber or Lyft to meet the driver at a corner.

He said police ought to patrol more if they want to improve safety as people leave the bars. And that there are few officers out past midnight.

Wallace said the vendors offer another set of sober eyes on the street after the bars close, and he isn't impressed with the strategy the city is using to examine the issue. “They are basing the changes that they want to make off of no data. They're trying to associate food carts with violence. And that's just not the case," Wallace said.

He says the vendors do a lot of business between 2 a.m., when the bars shut down, and 3 a.m. The proposed change would force them to lose sales in that last hour. “What they're posing is literally, it's crazy. They're proposing to shut down at 2 a.m., which really means 1:45 a.m., because the way the code is written, they want you off the street, they want you off the sidewalk," Wallace said.

Wallace said the food vendors aren’t the ones inebriating the bar goers and the incidents involving intoxicated people aren’t caused by their operations.

Columbus city officials said residential complaints regarding late-night activity surrounding food trucks in the Short North spurred the discussion and talk of adjustments to noise ordinances.

Business & Economy
Renee Fox is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News.