Debate Continues Over Proposed Street Food Vendor Ordinance In Douglas
Odie Dogs and the precedent it could set for future street food vendors continues to stir discussion among City of Douglas residents and business owners.
At Monday night’s Douglas City Council meeting, some of those persons spoke to the city staff’s recently proposed comprehensive ordinance to regulate those type of businesses.
“Who is going to regulate these policies and enforce them?,” local resident and business owner Renee Waddell asked the council.
The response from the community prompted the city council to declare it would engage in more discussion and carefully consider the various factors involved in a possible ordinance regulating street food vendors.
Of the existing agreement between Odie Dogs and the city, Waddell noted, “There are so many violations in this agreement already.”
“I thought this was an incubator program that would lead to a brick-and-mortar business,” she said expressing concern about “transit businesses” and the impact it would have on the feel and character of the city.
A fomer Douglas council member and mayor herself, Waddell owns Respite Cappuccino and Coffee House near where Odie Dogs saw moderate success this summer in front of Beery Field.
“I am not a competitor. I am for competition, I just don’t think this is what free entreprise is. If the city gets involved (with street vendors), it should be in helping them find a brick-and-mortar place.”
Local Douglas resident Patrick Reaume also called for what he argued would be a more level playing field, suggesting the Odie Dogs should be charged $6,000 to $7,000 instead of the $1,000-a-year permit to park his mobile food cart in two parking lots in front of Beery Field - $500 per parking space.
Odie Dogs is exempt from paying property taxes, unlike the case for brick-and-mortar eateries, a factor often pointed out by those opposing the business.
“Some people have enjoyed the (Odie Dogs) cart (and the food options it has provided),” said Douglas Council Member Lisa Greenwood.
However, she also echoed the sentiment of other council members when she said: “I support the idea of exploring it (a street food business ordinance) and talking about it.” She said she is open to an ordinance that would provide “control or at least provide consistent guidelines.”
Douglas City Mayor Jim Wiley said the following about Odie Dogs relationship with the city thus far: “I think it has worked out well.” But then went on to add, “I am not excited about an expansion of this thing.”