Judge to is­sue rul­ing on food truck chal­lenge

Baltimore Sun - - AROUND THE REGION -

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.

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