O’Neill moves to ban food trucks in 10th District

Legislation banning sidewalk sales in a large chunk of the Northeast is expected to be approved by City Council.

Several food carts set up daily on Bustleton Avenue just north of Cottman Avenue. A bill authored by 10th District Councilman Brian O’Neill would force them to shut up shop. JACK TOMCZUK / TIMES PHOTO

Food trucks and other sidewalk vendors may soon be banned throughout most of the Northeast.

A bill authored by Councilman Brian O’Neill prohibiting sidewalk sales in his 10th District is awaiting a vote. Street vendors are already banned in the Sixth District, represented by Councilman Bobby Henon.

O’Neill said he began looking into the issue after complaints about a food cart on Bustleton Avenue near Grant Avenue. Vendors are already not allowed in a significant portion of the 10th District, but O’Neill said he recently learned he could extend the ban to cover his entire district.

“Over the years, I’ve gotten requests to have sidewalk sales prohibited because somebody had a cart or a truck that was parked in front of or real close to competing businesses that are paying taxes and have bricks and mortar,” he said.

The 10th District covers everything west of Roosevelt Boulevard and north of Cottman Avenue and most of the area east of the Boulevard and north of Grant Avenue.

There aren’t many food trucks in O’Neill’s district, but a cluster have cropped up on Bustleton just north of Cottman.

O’Neill said food vendors have an “unfair advantage” on restaurants that have to pay rent and additional taxes. He said street vendors also don’t fit aesthetically in his district, which is more suburban than most parts of the city.

“They don’t belong in the area,” O’Neill said. “Residents, businesses, civic associations have always opposed them.”

O’Neill said he would be willing to grant an exemption to the legislation if a particular community supported a food truck in their neighborhood.

The legislation was reported out of committee on Thursday, and a representative from the Department of Licenses & Inspections said the city has no objection to the rule and is prepared to enforce it.

O’Neill’s bill is expected to pass the full Council and could be up for a final vote as early as May 16. ••