Scranton Council, Mayor Working On Legislation To Quell “Food Fight”

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SCRANTON -- There`s a battle being cooked up in the Electric City that can literally be called a food fight.

At issue is the growing trend of food trucks in downtown Scranton and it`s causing growing alarm for the brick and mortar restaurants here.

Many restaurant owners say food trucks aren't paying as much in licensing fees, making it hard for them to compete financially.

Bill Sceakoski is the owner of Pizza by Pappas on North Washington Avenue.

“Any competition is good competition and it`s fine as long as it`s a level playing field,” said Sceakoski.

At Scranton`s City Council meeting, a proposal drafted by Mayor Chris Doherty was introduced that would update the city`s 2009 ordinance in regard to food trucks.

The proposal would increase the annual license fee on food trucks to 500 dollars, bar them from operating from a half hour before sunset to 8 the next morning and trucks cannot be within a 250 feet of a restaurant.

Jo Marie Yaman owns “Eats” food truck and understands why the restaurants want this; she says she`s always followed the rules.

“That`s their right and I know that, and I know my rights,” said Yaman. “I know what my laws and limitations are and I`ve always upheld them.”

Council said at its meeting it welcomes all new businesses to the city and is hoping to work with the restaurants, food vendors and Scranton Tomorrow to come to legislation that suits everyone.

Yaman says she doesn't mind a higher permit fee, but with limits on where she can park it will be tough to find locations downtown.

“They would sort of just be pushing us out of the city.”

The mayor's proposal was only introduced at Thursday night’s meeting; council can alter it.

It must pass two more readings before it can be adopted into law.