Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Barrett Vetoes Food Truck Ban

"We should support the opportunities and great flavors they bring to Milwaukee."

By - Mar 13th, 2019 11:18 am
Taqueria Las Estrellas. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Taqueria Las Estrellas on E. Brady St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A ban on food trucks from S. Layton Blvd. (27th Street) to the western city limits at S. 39th St. has been rejected by Mayor Tom Barrett.

The ban, introduced by Alderman Robert Donovan and unanimously adopted by the Common Council, was the alderman’s sixth such ban in his district. Donovan has already blocked food trucks from operating on W. Greenfield Ave., S. 35th St., W. Lincoln Ave. and W. Mitchell St. in the eighth aldermanic district, which runs from approximately S. 20th St. to S. 40th St.

Donovan, in an interview after the ban’s passage in late February, cited concerns with traffic congestion and complaints from businesses about the loss of parking.

“I understand the sponsor’s concern, and the… concerns of many Council members about traffic, parking and occasional nuisance issues with food trucks. A ban in a small area only moves these issues elsewhere,” said Barrett in his veto message. “Cumulatively, these small bans could create a larger liability for the city. You may recall a previous effort to ban mobile vendors from every street in one aldermanic district that raised legal concerns. A de facto district-wide ban enacted over time presents the same challenges.”

Donovan, in a late February interview, said the issue drew particular attention near the intersection of S. 37th St. and W. National Ave. “We reached out to that particular vendor and they, for whatever reason, just didn’t want to work with us,” said Donovan without identifying the specific food truck.

Barrett responded to that in his veto message. “I agree that a food truck operator should not be able to skip around municipal boundaries to avoid regulations that protect neighbors and food safety,” he wrote, adding that he has consulted with the Milwaukee Police Department, Department of Public Works parking enforcement division and Milwaukee Health Department on enforcement practices. “I am confident that current enforcement activity is adequate and responsive,” wrote Barrett. However, he said has directed the health department to continue working with the state to revise licensing practices.

Barrett defended the city’s food trucks in his message. “Responsibly operated food trucks can add great energy to our city. They are also a platform for entrepreneurs to start or expand a business. We should find ways to support the opportunities and great flavors they bring to Milwaukee,” wrote the mayor.

Barrett issued the veto on March 6th. It was his first veto of many prior bans passed by the council.

The council will take up the veto at the start of its next regularly scheduled meeting on March 26th. It would take 10 votes to override the mayor’s vote.

Milwaukee Food Trucks

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Related Legislation: File 181572

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