1. MOBILE FOOD CART & FOOD TRUCK
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY CD/ED COMMITTEES
Project Location: Citywide
Purpose of Legislation
Ordinance #210-11 under the authorization from the Director of Public Health and
Capital Projects seeks to amend multiple sections of the codified ordinances of
Cleveland relating to vendors to supplement the codified ordinances by enacting new
sections, streamlining the approval processes relating to mobile food shops and to
rename Chapter 675 to “Street Vendors.”
Background of Food Carts
Before Cleveland’s Food Cart Pilot Program was launched in 2010, an understanding of
the economic and social implications of Cleveland’s growing food cart industry needed
to be addressed:
1. What extent do food carts serve as an entry-point into long-term
2. Will food carts provide beneficial economic opportunities for residents of
3. What effects do food carts have on street vitality and connections
Sustainable Food Cart Pilot Program
With proper permits pulled and inspections conducted, the pilot program will allow
foods to be prepared and cooked on-site. The program is also to encourage sustainable
business practices, including composting, recycling, and the use of local food. It will be
the responsibility of the food cart operator to clean the surrounding area (60 foot
radius). Concessionaires are also responsible for reaching agreements with the
program partners for the use of amenities, such as electrical and water service.
Original Mobile Food Cart 1920’s – (horse vending cart)
In 2010, a new pilot program
called “Cleveland’s Sustainable
Food Cart Program” was created to
provide loan and grant funding to
10 Food Cart operators that would
be selected under written
guidelines and approved by a
2. Food Cart / Truck Legislation
The purpose of the pilot program: (1) provide the public with a more diverse culinary
option; (2) promote small business entrepreneurship; (3) expand the use of locally
grown food; (4) utilize local artists to incorporate creative design for the carts; and (5)
to increase activity in the public realm at various designated locations in the City.
Cleveland’s Sustainable Food Cart Program allowed 10 mobile carts in 2010. Identified
locations include: Public Square, PlayhouseSquare, CSU & CWRU campuses, North
Coast Harbor, and a neighborhood outside of Downtown to be determined.
Summary of Revisions to Ordinance 210-11 (see attachment)
Legislation will authorize mobile food carts and trucks to operate Citywide.
Downtown currently only allows hot dog vending. Specific zones will be created
with the approval of the Director of Capital Projects. Legislation will not be
required to establish zones, just support from the local Councilperson.
Legislation will streamline departments, processing and fees. Currently, each
food cart requires legislation as part of the permit process. This will no longer be
Specific zones will be created with the approval of Director of Capital Projects,
City Planning and the local council person.
All mobile vending units shall have valid permits and must comply with all
regulatory requirements. Permits must be obtained before operating inside the
City limits of Cleveland. Permits expire one year after the date when they are
approved, and must be renewed on or before expiration date; permits are non-
You must be located 100 linear feet from an existing fixed restaurant location in
the appropriate commercial zoning district.
If operating from the sidewalk in the public right-of-way, the sidewalk has to be
at least 10 feet wide and vendor must maintain 6 feet wide or more clearance to
allow for pedestrian traffic and must be located at least 10 feet of a crosswalk,
another mobile food shop or any doorway or the prolongation of any doorway
width to the curb line.
Codified ordinance for food cart vending is totally separated from non-food
3. Food Cart / Truck Legislation
Compliance with health code, state and fire remain unchanged except for food
cart operators will no longer be required to have a physical / doctors
appointment prior to receiving a permit.
Drawings submitted to the Planning Department for approval as to location /
setback of food cart has been eliminated. Setback requirements will be provided
to every food cart applicant to comply.
Food Trucks can operate until 3:00 am in areas that are food deserts when
restaurants close, food carts operating on sidewalks until 3:00 midnight
respectively. Food Carts/Trucks can open as early as 6:00 am.
Food Trucks will be able to park and operate from City meters per the
appropriate time period on the meter. Upon expiration of time in the meter, the
food trucks will have to move.
The following locations have been identified as proposed “food cart / truck
Public Square – NE & SW Quadrants
4. Food Cart / Truck Legislation
Cleveland State University (E. 18th
– E. 22nd
Street south side only)
North Coast Harbor
5. Food Cart / Truck Legislation
Willard Park (Food Carts in Park only)
6. Food Cart / Truck Legislation
Perk Plaza (food carts in park only upon completion)
E. 12 Street from Superior Avenue north to Lakeside Avenue (both sides of
7. Food Cart / Truck Legislation
Examples of Food Carts
Food Cart zones are currently being reviewed to determine locations in the Ward 15
District of the Detroit Shoreway Neighborhood.
Notes from City Council 4-18-11
1. Temporary Issuance for an Event – if an area will be closed off to allow for food
carts / trucks for a special event in an established zone or allowed by zoning, the
sponsoring organization as part of the Special Events Permit can include the list
of approved food carts at no additional cost or permit as long as they have
appropriate permits through the City of Cleveland.
2. Public parks can be added as “Zones” with the approval of Councilperson and
Director of Public Works.
8. Food Cart / Truck Legislation
3. Director of Public Works, City Planning and the appropriate Councilperson can
limit the number of Food Carts & Food Trucks in appropriate zones and ward
4. Ordinance #210-11 will sunset November 28, 2011.
5. City council members will approve not only the creation of food cart / truck zones
within their districts but will approve any food cart licenses issued within their
ward by signing off on the permit. Individual legislation for each food cart or
truck will no longer be required.
Lessons Learned from Food Carts
1. Food Carts / Food Trucks have positive impacts on street vitality and
neighborhood life in Downtown and commercial districts in neighborhoods.
2. Add vitality in “food deserts” within commercial areas, parking lots in the City;
3. “Eyes and Ears” on the street. Potential bombing in NYC was averted in 2010
due to a Food Cart operator;
4. Food carts represent beneficial employment opportunities they provide an
improved quality of life and promote social interaction between owners and
5. Stepping stone to opening a storefront business or small café;
6. Promotes minority business micro-enterprises;
7. Promotes immigration to Cities that support Food Carts (Portland, New York and
Food Carts approved under Pilot Program
Just Like Us
Kevin’s Creative Cuisines
Dim and Den Sum