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Milwaukee Food Trucks: WILL to Consider ‘All Legal Options’ if City Restricts Them

Milwaukee food trucks are in peril of new regulations.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) says it will consider “all legal options” to stop the City of Milwaukee from pushing new restrictions limiting food trucks in the city.

“If this ordinance is enacted, we would consider all legal options to stop these anti-competitive restrictions,” WILL said in a statement, referring to a newly proposed City of Milwaukee ordinance that will regulate food trucks in the city and downtown area.

“The City of Milwaukee’s Common Council is pushing new restrictions on small business owners across the city. This proposed ordinance—specifically targeting food trucks—limits hours of sale while allowing brick and mortar restaurants to stay open,” WILL Deputy Counsel, Lucas Vebber, said. “The ordinance also creates the opportunity for special carve outs for the politically connected. WILL is proud to support small business owners opposing these anti-competitive restrictions.”

The City of Milwaukee’s Common Council is considering an ordinance to, among other things, ban food trucks from being within 50 feet of brick and mortar restaurants, WILL said in a press release.

“The newly proposed ordinance would also prevent food trucks from operating between the hours of 1 AM and 6 AM in the downtown Milwaukee zone, and establish a ‘seniority’ system to limit access for food trucks in a second zone,” WILL’s news release says. “Under the ordinance, City Council can waive some restrictions at any time. While this creates additional flexibility, it also creates opportunities for furthering aldermanic privilege practices—which only benefit the politically connected.”

The common council “plans to hold public hearings on the proposed ordinance today and Thursday, with potential for a full vote later this month,” said WILL.

The proposed ordinance:

1. :Adds food peddler vehicle to the definition of a food establishment.
2. Adds mobile or transient retail food establishment to the definition of food peddler vehicle.
3. Provides that food peddler vehicles shall not be operated between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Monday through Friday, or between 3:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.
4. Creates two types of limited operation food peddler vehicle zones. A Type 1 zone limits time by providing that a food peddler vehicle parked in that zone shall not be operated between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. and shall not be parked in the zone for more than six hours in a 12-hour period. A Type 2 zone limits density by providing that a certain number of food peddler vehicles may be parked on a block face in that zone.
5. Establishes the application process for food peddler vehicles seeking a parking space in a Type 2 limited operation food peddler vehicle zone.
6. Provides that the food peddler vehicle policy shall be reviewed annually.”

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