Kent City Council voted Wednesday to limit the number of food vending trailers on city streets and move them to parking spots under the Haymaker Parkway bridge after the city's administration detailed multiple problems with the city's current rules governing concession stands.
Council voted unanimously in committee to reduce the number of parking spots set aside for vendors from five to three and move the designated vendor spaces from the heart of downtown to under the overpass on Franklin Avenue, the same area where the Haymaker Farmers' Market hosts its outdoor season.
City Manager Dave Ruller said the city, which began auctioning off five vendor parking spots last year, was receiving noise complaints about the vendors as well as complaints from vendors that motorists were parking in their reserved spots, resulting in the city towing cars.
"We were having police intervention and towing almost every night (the vendors) were operating," Ruller said.
He added that the vendors were using parking spots in the central business and downtown redevelopment project areas that could be used by multiple customers throughout a night.
Kent Law Director Jim Silver said the administration considered eliminating the special spots for vendors all together, but decided against it.
"They do generate some business," Silver said. "They do have patrons that do like them."
Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer said she had some concerns that moving the vendors farther away from downtown Kent's bars could drive loud pedestrians closer to residential neighborhoods early in the morning, but ultimately voted in favor of the measure.
Kent Police Chief Michelle Lee said the new policy would prevent some parking complaint calls to the police department and would likely not cause additional trouble for nearby residents.
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