Waterfront treats?: Food carts could return to city’s waterfront

Published 12:03 am Saturday, May 16, 2015

A vendor selling frozen yogurt and similar treats from a food cart on Stewart Parkway could become part of the waterfront landscape — again.

The Washington City Council, with a unanimous vote during its meeting Monday, opened to door for cart vendors to return to the waterfront, possibly later this year.

Mike Weeks, a Washington resident and owner of Loreta’s Frozen Yogurt in Greenville, appeared before the council and made his plea to be allowed to sell frozen yogurt and other items in Washington.

“Loreta’s wants to have a vendor cart selling frozen desert items along the waterfront,” Weeks said. “Our desert cart would feature frozen yogurt, gelato and sorbet in a variety of flavors and forms.”

Weeks said the cart would also sell treats for dogs whose owners walk them along the waterfront.

The council and city staff, including the city manager and city attorney, spent several minutes discussing how to go about allowing cart vendors to sell items on the waterfront. The city has a history of allowing such activity, but the current City Code prohibits peddlers from working the waterfront.

Councilman Doug Mercer said the city should follow the process the council approved in 2002 regarding cart vendors. Those rules allowed up to three cart vendors, two in the Stewart Parkway area and one in the Havens Gardens area. During the spring and summer of 2003, only one vendor, Jimbo’s Texas Jumbos, sold hot dogs and other items on Stewart Parkway.

“It would be nice to have a cart or a facility right on the parkway when I’m walking to go get a bottle of water or to have an ice cream cone rather than to go up to Main Street or somewhere else to get that kind of material,” Mercer said.

Council member William Pitt said vendor carts provide another food option when other food businesses are closed. Pitt said he supports Weeks’ plan.

Councilman Bobby Roberson said it was his understanding the procedure approved in 2002 would be used to permit Weeks’ food cart to sell items on the waterfront. “Is there anything different than that we need to be aware of?” Roberson said.

City Manager Brian Alligood asked the council for specific directions for city staff to follow in setting up a program that would allow vendor carts on the waterfront. He wanted to know if the council wanted to limit cart vendors on the waterfront to a specific number or allow any cart vendor to set up shop on the waterfront. He asked if the council wanted an “exclusivity” component to any rules that might govern cart vendors on the waterfront.

Roberson made the motion to allow up to three cart vendors on Stewart Parkway and seek proposals to operate on the waterfront from owners of food carts, following the process approved by the council in 2002. Under that process, proposals were required to include information about the name of the organization or individual, business address, number of years engaged in business, proposed vending location, items to be sold, description of vending cart and hours of operations.

Vendors had to meet a number of requirements concerning size of their carts, site cleanup, insurance and other matters.

Approved vendors could sell prepackaged food and nonalcoholic beverage items from food carts to the public, city officials said in 2003. Proposals were evaluated based upon the types of food and beverage items to be served, operating schedule, cart description, license fee amount, support vehicle parking plans and other related issues.

Applicants were allowed to submit multiple proposals. Contracts, awarded on a yearly basis, were renewable, pending acceptable performance, according to city officials.










About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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