Ferndale City Council adopted a new vending ordinance for food trucks and mobile vendors at its meeting Monday night.
On April 23, council debated for more than an hour over an ordinance on street vending in the downtown district.
The Downtown Development Authority had proposed a resolution limiting the days and operation times of local street vendors and setting fees, explaining the proposals as measures to secure downtown businesses. Various street vendors and some members of council expressed that such changes could put street and mobile vendors out of business completely.
Mayor David Coulter and Councilman Dan Martin agreed to serve as a liaison committee of the council to work with the DDA and city administration for two weeks and come back with a recommendation.
Their recommendations, which they presented and were ultimately approved Monday night, include lowering the license fee for sidewalk vending from the previously proposed $250 to $175.
Mobile vending will be allowed Tuesdays only from 8 a.m.-3 a.m. with a license fee of $550 per year. For an additional $100 fee, licensed mobile vendors can apply to operate seven days a week from midnight-3 a.m. in any loading zone approved by the police chief.
Sidewalk vending will now be allowed Thursdays from 8 a.m.-3 a.m. to coincide with the DDA's "Third Thursdays" initiative and Saturdays from 4-11 p.m. for a license fee of $175 per year. Licensed sidewalk vendors may also operate daily from 11 p.m. until 3 a.m. anywhere on city sidewalks in the Central Business District that maintains the minimum clearance distances required by state and federal laws.
Councilman T. Scott Galloway was the only "no" vote, explaining he believes the permitted days should be treated like a special event for the DDA similar to a Woodward Avenue Brewers food truck rally council approved later in the meeting. He said that event involved a more extensive and costly planning process.
"I think we should give everybody the same treatment," he said.
Galloway said council may be getting "too involved in the private market" with the ordinance. "It seems like we've stuck our hands into a big mess and we're sure to upset somebody," he said. "I'm just really dissatisfied with this and I don't think it accomplishes any of the goals as I understood them."
Coulter said he doesn't believe it should be a special event because it will be a regular occurrence. He said the ordinance attempts to "strike a balance" between groups with very different views on the issue and said there seems to be no conclusive data on whether street vendors adversely effect brick and mortar businesses.
"It is admittedly a balance," Coulter said. "We're going to find out if this is too prohibitive and we may have to revisit this again."
WAB Food Truck Rally, other events approved
Council also approved permits for special events including a food truck rally on East Troy Street for Woodward Avenue Brewers on June 23, Aug. 4 and Oct. 6 from 11 a.m.-10 p.m., a permit for Pig and Whiskey on July 13-15 and a special event permit for the Sierra Club's Green Cruise on Aug. 11.