CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Cape Coral food vendors say the city is cooking up trouble for their small businesses. Monday council members will meet to discuss a proposed ordinance that would put new rules and fees into place.
Wink New spoke with long-time vendors who say the regulations are unreasonable and excessive. Some say they fear the measure would force them out of business entirely.
Five days a week for more than two decades, Cape Coral food vendor Susan McAfee cooks up her specialty.
"I've been out here so long people know where I'm at. I'm in an industrial park, I'm not around any other restaurants," she said.
McAfee says the new ordinance proposed by Cape Coral City Council could force her and many other mobile business owners to close. She says the suggested $1,200 annual permit fee is unreasonable.
"I don't make tones of money. I make enough to pay my bill and feed my kids," she said.
Among the many new requirements, the ordinance would also limit the city's vendors to 15 at any given time and operators would need to move their carts or trucks every three days.
"I don't think people would want to pay all these fees to be out here 3 days a week and if they want to be out here longer you have to change locations," she added.
"The big concern for the city was health and safety. We don't want to have people driving through town setting up shop and then moving on when we don't even know who they were," said Councilman Kevin McGrail.
McGrail says asking vendors to move constantly is not in anyone's best interest.
"How do you do an inspection if they are moving every three days? How do you know where they are at," he said.
McGrail says the city needs to revise the proposal to keep these vendors from rolling out of town. If passed, food trucks would need $500,000 worth of insurance and couldn't set up within 500 feet of churches, daycares, homes or restaurants without permission.
Council plans to bring up the matter at Monday's meeting starting around 4:30p.m.