By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Friday May 25, 2012
Food truck bylaw takes U-turn back to committee
The push to relax the rules for Hamilton’s food trucks has hit a snag.
Councillors stalled a decision about changes governing the city’s mobile eateries at their meeting Wednesday night, arguing they didn’t know whether those changes would cause unforeseen legal circumstances.
Staff have recommended new rules that would allow food trucks to park as close as 20 metres to fixed-location restaurants. The bylaw as it stands requires food trucks to stay 100 metres from restaurants.
Although that recommendation passed unanimously at the planning committee last week, Councillor Russ Powers introduced an amendment at Wednesday’s meeting that would require food trucks to stay 100 metres away from the borders of the seven business improvement areas in the city that have opposed the bylaw changes.
However, Tim McCabe, the city’s general manager of economic development and planning, said those rules could be even more restrictive than the bylaw in place now. For example, the nearest restaurant could be 400 metres away from the border of a BIA — meaning the food truck could actually be parking 500 metres away from the nearest bricks-and-mortar restaurant.
Ron Sabo, acting city solicitor, said the city can’t legally mandate the location of businesses unless it can legally prove there are consumer protection, health and safety, or nuisance issues.
Councillors ultimately voted to send the issue back to the planning committee for further discussion. Councillors Jason Farr, Bernie Morelli, Sam Merulla and Chad Collins opposed the move. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)