Planning commission tables street vendor issue

Harmony Campbell, proprietor of Hot Rod Cafe, speaks with the Gallipolis Planning Commission about the possibility of parking her concession trailer downtown in hopes of engaging in business during lunch hours.

GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis Planning Commission on Tuesday discussed concerns and controversies surrounding the possibility of adding concession vehicles and trailers to the downtown area.

“What I am hoping to do is do business within city limits with my mobile (food concession) trailer. I have done quite a bit of research along the way and have quite a bit of interest in making another option on top of what’s available for downtown (food services),” Harmony Campbell, proprietor of Hot Rod Cafe, said.

She and her husband own a concessions trailer from which they plan to serve a variety of chicken dishes, waffles and hot dogs. Campbell had approached the city commission in early June requesting to set up her food cart downtown for weekly lunch hours.

Campbell said her facilities are fully licensed and have been inspected by the Gallia County Health Department. The commission didn’t take any action at that time, but instead opted to wait to perform more research about codes and concession trailers.

Commission members asked where Campbell would like to set her business and she noted somewhere around City Park as an ideal location.

Troy Johnson, commission member, asked how the majority of Campbell’s money would be made.

“Do you think you’ll be seeing more pedestrian business or people driving up?” Johnson asked. He then asked if Campbell had done any kind of traffic study to note the kind of congestion or numbers that would approach her business.

Campbell noted she had not.

Johnson discussed his closest familiarity with street concessions in the Athens area. He said vendors there seemed to do well as a business, but created high street congestion at times.

Tom Childs, commission member, asked to see a model of Campbell’s business and more information regarding the trends surrounding the food concession industry. Campbell said she had sent information to Brett Bostic, city enforcement officer, in the form of articles regarding businesses similar to hers and controversies surrounding street concessions.

Stephen Wallis, commission member, noted that Gallipolis City Solicitor Adam Salisbury had sent examples of Columbus ordinances to the city commission detailing a wide array of problems that city had attempted to rectify through legislation.

Wallis noted Gallipolis was going to have its “work cut out for it” while trying to not “reinvent the wheel.” He said the city would do its best to research other towns that had street concession vendors in hopes of finding workable situations to promote business while protecting citizen interests.

Planning commission members voted to “table” the issue until they could examine information provided by Campbell in closer detail, as well as more closely examine city ordinances similar to Columbus or Athens when dealing with food concessions.

Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.