Mobile Vendors Update

Before getting to the issue of mobile vendors, I just want you to be aware of some other food news. Indoor farmers market will be approved. The first indoor farmers market will be at Midtown Global Exchange in about 2 weeks.

Getting back to the issue of mobile food vendors, a lot has happened since the last meeting. A new version of the proposal was created with a dozen changes in the language. Most notably, the provision requiring property owners to provide consent has been replaced with one requiring restaruant owners within 100 feet to give their consent. The same objections remain.

The mobile food vendor proposal is introduced. The first contentious issue involves the addition of a healthy foods proposal.

Council member Hofstede wants to introduce a staff direction on homegrown Minneapolis concerns to develop guidelines for the development of locally homegrown organic food.

Council member Glidden opposes staff direction on homegrown concerns. She feels it is the wrong time to introduce this direction because it is too early for directions. Glidden wants to know how many street food vendor programs will emerge before offering directions. Glidden feels it is too early to know how incentives will work without an initial year of mobile vendors.

Council member Gordon speaks in favor of the Homegrown concern ordinance. Gordon wants to connect the proposal to healthy foods. He cites an example in Oakland California with Fruiteros. Gordon cites other examples of additional licenses for people with green food. Gordon feels there is interest in getting fresh and healthy food into circulation. Gordon notes some cities have put these healthy food vendors on school routes.

Council member Goodman opposes the staff direction. Once passed, staff will be focusing on setting up licenses and identifying suitable locations. Goodman does not feel that staff should be burdened by this additional work. Council member Goodman wants homegrown to do the legwork on the healthy routes, not city staff. Goodman feels one year from now, it will be other issues, like mobility and tweetability which will be the focus of the council.

Council member Lilligren is in favor of the direction. Council member Lilligren feels it sends important clear indications that the city council stands behind Homegrown Minneapolis and the efforts to get healthy locally grown food into circulation.

Council member Colvin Roy speaks against the motion. She feels it is an inaugural year. She wonders if it is a mobile substitute for an open air food market? Colvin Roy feels the proposal does not seem to include language about licensed kitchen scenarios. Colvin Roy feels that this focuses too much on a narrow range of food vendors. For Colvin Roy, she is most troubled by the timing of the agenda. Staff time is not an unlimited resource and should currently be focused on the inagural proposal. She wants supporters of the homegrown proposal to talk to the inaugural vendors.

Council member Hodges speaks against the staff direction. She is in favor of the impulse behind the staff direction. She supports the impulse behind Homegrown carts, but she feels it is unnecessary to direct staff to take this on.

Council member Gordon then speaks. He is willing to step forward and lead on the issue. He will email council members about a national obesity organization’s efforts.

Council member Hofstede speaks next. After hearing many conversations about Homegrown Minneapolis, Council membmer Hofstede feels it is important to support the efforts to rectify food deficits. She feels it is important to work with large number of volunteers who are interested in Homegrown Minneapolis. This is not to impede current track, but to provide a parallel track. It is meant to be broad and send a message to people who are creating local food options.

No further discussion on the staff direction issue is held. Roll call is taken.

4 Ayes, 9 Nays. Motion fails.

Next there is an amendment to by council member Gordon.This amendment allows you to get power from a cable with permission from a private property owner. (Mobile vendors on private property are allowed with written consent of the private property owner to get power from a cable.)

Council member Goodman feels that on private property, it should be possible to allow for a cable without ADA concerns.

The amendment is approved.

The proposal to allow mobile vendors is allowed.

Council member Goodman introduces overall ordinance. Council member Goodman cites a David Motzenbecker (sp) email is mentioned that this is about removing barriers to access and gaining living wage jobs.

Council member Goodman talks about how this all started. About 3 years ago, a Minneapolis walking foundation was meeting. They were trying to figure out how to make the city more walkable and liveable. They wanted to have mobile food vendors. There were 24 barriers to using public right of way for food vendors.

Council member Goodman notes the changes in the new proposal. The mobile vendor proposal substitute contains the twelve changes, some of which are: eliminating the caps on the number of mobile food vendors and eliminating the property owner requirement but substituting restaurant permission.

According to Goodman this is about removing barriers to entry and allowing young entrepenuers to move into new opportunities. You no longer have to rent an expensive place to sell a $2 taco.

Goodman acknowledges the young entrepenuers in the audience. Council member Goodman wants to acknowledge the work of Dough Cress who did 99% of the work.

Council member Glidden then gives a speech. Glidden is very excited about having street food in the downtown area. Glidden feels that street food is an important part of street life and Minneapolis will benefit from this ordinance. Glidden also congratulates Doug Cress. Everyone wants to find a way through the ordinance structure. Glidden feels everyone is positive about the change despite concerns. She feels people were constructive in the public hearing. Glidden feels they did a great job of addressing concerns at the public hearing.

Council member Hodges speans next. She begins recalling a memory from her old High School Debate team who asked her about mobile food vendors. She feels it is really great that they are getting mobile food vendors.

Council member Schiff feels that this is the day Minneapolis became a bit more mature and grows up.

Council member Reich extends gratititude for work that has been done and shares excitement about mobile food vendors. Reich Feels there are many parts of the city that will benefit from it.

Council member Johnson feels that this is a great thing, especially with the opening of the Twins Ballpark. She feels mobile vendors will be a great addition.

A vote is held.

There is unanimous adoption of the report. Applause breaks out.

The next phase will be for the necessary changes in state law to occur.

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