Judge rules that 300-foot food truck ban in Baltimore is too vague
BALTIMORE, Md. (WBFF) -- On Wednesday, many people are declaring a victory for Baltimore Food Trucks after a judge ruled that the 300-foot ban is too vague for city to enforce.
Judge Karen C. Friedman, a Baltimore Circuit Court judge, ruled the city's ban on mobile vendors operating within 300 feet of any brick-and-mortar business that sells primarily the same product or service is too vague for the city to enforce.
Two Baltimore area food trucks, Pizza di Joey and Mindgrub Cafe, teamed up with IJ in May 2016 to challenge the ban.
Under the ban, vendors caught violating the law, which was passed at the request of the retail-business lobby would be guilty of a misdemeanor and face $500 in fines for each violation.
The judge gave Baltimore 60 days to stop enforcing the law.
In her ruling, she found that no "reasonable person" would be able to understand and navigate the 300-foot ban. Furthermore, the court noted that there was "voluminous evidence" regarding the 300-foot ban's ambiguity.
Judge Friedman concluded that the ban's complete "lack of standards" prevented "enforcement officials, brick-and-mortar restaurants, and food trucks from understanding" how to follow the law.
"Since day one, it has been clear that the 300-foot ban has completely left Baltimore's food trucks in the lurch," said IJ Attorney Greg Reed. "The judge gave the city 60 days to stop enforcing the law, which means food trucks will soon no longer have to live in fear of criminal prosecution."
Joey Vanoni, owner and operator of the Pizza di Joey food truck, said, "I'm happy that this ruling will let me operate more freely in the city, but I look forward to a day when laws like these no longer exist. This is not just a win for me, but a win for all hungry Baltimoreans who will finally have the freedom to choose where to eat lunch."
"Today's ruling means Charm City is one step closer to food truck freedom," added IJ Senior Attorney Robert Frommer. "But until the Maryland courts declare once and for all that cities cannot make it a crime to compete, we will keep fighting."