Akron mulls effect of food trucks

AKRON, Ohio - Officials in one northeast Ohio city aren't exactly eating up the new food-truck craze.

The president of the city council in Akron said Monday a committee will look into food trucks and what effect they've had on established restaurants in other cities where they are popular.

Local food-truck operators and their supporters have been lobbying the council through social media and other means to permit them in the city. But the Downtown Akron Partnership has raised concerns about food trucks competing with downtown restaurants.

"You've gotten our attention," council president Garry Moneypenny told the local food-truck owners and others who have taken to Facebook and urged people to sign an online petition to promote their cause. He also asked the operators to tone down their online remarks, which he said have at times attacked the city, elected officials and downtown restaurants.

Other cities elsewhere are also dealing with a proliferation of food trucks. Food truck operators have pushed for the freedom to operate, while traditional restaurants have fought it, arguing they can't compete with the lower-overhead of rolling food-providers.

Earlier this month, Columbus officials decided to let the trucks operate from specified public parking spaces under a pilot program. Sixteen pre-approved parking spaces in certain parts of the city will be open to food trucks daily on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Akron council wants to get feedback about the pilot program before finalizing local regulations on the issue.

The Akron Beacon Journal ( http://bit.ly/10QvR9N ) reports that the Akron food-truck operators -- who showed up at the council meeting for the third straight week -- said they are pleased the city is at least considering their request.

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