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At-large city council members Sarah Grace (left), Patrick McGee (middle) and Peter Kotses (right) during the Jan. 16 Athens City Council meeting. (FILE)

City Council: Members discuss vending licenses, street improvements

Athens City Council members heard from several local vendors Monday who were concerned about vending licenses and regulations for food trucks and trailers. 

Councilman Pat McGee, I-At Large, proposed an ordinance that would change how vending licenses are distributed and paid for in Athens. 

Vendors are only permitted to vend on East Union Street. Licenses are distributed on a yearly basis and reserve a parking spot for vendors on East Union Street, adjacent to College Green. 

McGee said the proposed ordinance would lower the cost of a vending license from a $1,500 yearly fee to a monthly $125 fee. He said that would allow vendors to not pay during certain months. If vendors don’t use a reserved space for three months, the vendors would lose their spot. Spots would be granted on a seniority basis, McGee said. 

The proposed ordinance would also reduce the number of potential vending licenses in Athens from 10 to eight. 

McGee said the ordinance could also grant vending licenses for other public spaces around Athens, such as the West State Street baseball fields. 

Councilwoman Chris Fahl, D-3rd Ward, said the current regulations for height and weight of vending trucks and trailers are archaic and should be amended along with the distribution of vending licenses. 

Some Athens vendors called for more communication to vendors about legislation. 

“Things are getting passed that will jeopardize my significant investment,” Will Drury, owner of the Cajun Clucker food truck, said. “It will impact my livelihood and my investment. I was never given an opportunity to give any input or any ideas, and I have great concern about that.”

Athens City Council members also introduced an ordinance that would allow the mayor to apply for a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation. 

The Transportation Alternatives Program Grant will be used to make improvements on East Union, Washington, East State and Mill streets. 

Councilman Peter Kotses, D-At Large, said the improvements will improve pedestrian safety by adding curb extensions at intersections and making crosswalks shorter. 

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson said the improvements will not take place for several years and 80 percent of the cost would be covered by ODOT.

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