Judge to issue ruling on food truck challenge
Two food truck owners took the witness stand in Baltimore City Circuit Court this week in an attempt to overturn a rule that prohibits them from operating near brick-and-mortar restaurants. The trial, which began Thursday and ended Friday, was the latest step in a lawsuit filed in May 2016 by food truck owners Joseph SalekNejad and Nicole “Nikki” McGowan, who own food trucks and are seeking relief from a law that bans them from setting up shop within 300 feet of restaurants and retailers with similar foods. Lawyers for the food truck owners argued that the rule is unconstitutional, while the city’s attorneys said it falls within the city’s police power. Baltimore City Circuit Court associate judge Karen C. Friedman is expected to issue a ruling in the coming weeks. Neither McGowan nor Salek-Nejad has been punished for violating the 300-foot rule, but they said they avoid operating in the city out of fear they will receive citations or fines, or have their mobile vending licenses revoked. Both food truck owners said they would like to operate in neighborhoods like Hampden and Federal Hill but that there are too many restaurants offering similar foods. They showed maps of those neighborhoods pinpointing restaurants with conflicting menus and the 300-foot-radius around each.