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Short North food cart vendors argue against proposal to define hours, modify where they could set up

A proposal would define the hours of operation for food carts in the Short North. Food trucks would have to stop vending at 2:30 a.m. and pack up by 3 a.m.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus City Council held its final hearing on the mobile street cart proposal on Wednesday. 

If passed, it would define the hours of operation for vendors and modify where they could set up. The proposal would require vendors to stop serving food after 2:30 a.m., and be completely packed up and off the street by 3 a.m. Vendors would also need to have a reservation to set up.

Adam Wallace is the owner of Feed the Need, LLC. He has several food carts that operate around the Short North. He was at the meeting. 

"When people exit the bars, a little bit around 2 a.m. they're coming up to get the street meat they're happy they're excited,” he said. 

City leaders said the proposal is to increase safety in a busy area of the Short North. 

Last year, they heard concerns from residents after several violent incidents, including shootings. 

A representative with the Short North Alliance said during the hearing,” We are hopeful that the proposed changes will be a good next step in fostering safety crime prevention and support for our community.” 

One food cart owner said,” Most of the money is made between 1:30 a.m. to almost 3:15 a.m. That's 95% of the income.” 

Wallace said shutting down at 2:30 a.m. is better but isn’t sold on if this is the best decision to improve safety. 

City Council is expected to vote on the proposal on March 20. If it’s passed, the legislation will go into effect in May. 

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