Brunswick residents urge city to change permit rules for ice cream trucks

BRUNSWICK, Ohio – A petition from Brunswick residents asking the city to amend an ordinance classifying ice cream van vendors as door-to-door attorneys has reportedly garnered more than 1,000 signatures in four hours this week.

The petition was circulated after it became known that Celeste Compola of Celestes Tasty Treats had been refused a seller’s approval by the city.

However, according to some city officials, the effort may not be enough.

The petition called on the city council to “amend the current regulations that put ice cream trucks in the same category as door-to-door lawyers. Although both are temporary vendors, we are calling for door-to-door lawyers who actually knock on doors to be better defined and completely separated from ice cream vendors who drive on streets and do not approach residential doors. “

Resident Lucas Merkel, who was involved in the petition circulation, said: “Door-to-door lawyers are uninvited and knock on residents’ doors. An ice cream truck is asked to buy by an interested buyer.

“It doesn’t make sense that they should be treated equally under the current city ordinances, and our petition seeks to change that.”

The petition also demands that “ice cream vendors (may) start operating immediately, as long as they comply with the current regulations that were passed last year.”

Devil in the details

Celestes Tasty Treats was at the forefront of changing city ordinance last year related to ice cream trucks.

However, the city administrator and security director Carl DeForest pointed out at the meeting of the city council on March 22nd that the regulation passed in September distinguishes “frozen dessert dealers” from other lawyers from door to door, but must still be at least 18 years old. Comply with all Medina County Health Department regulations, have a valid driver’s license, have “USD 300,000 Minimum Personal Injury and Property Damage” insurance, have no criminal convictions for bodily harm, guns, drugs or sexually oriented offenses, and most importantly In this case – you have a valid permit from the town vendor.

DeForest said the city has not issued business permits to businesses since November as Governor Mike DeWine continued to classify Medina County as a “red” COVID-19 county.

“Medina County has the fourth most common cases in the state, and zip code 44212 has the highest number of cases in the county,” DeForest said.

“I know some might see me as a lactose-intolerant ice-cream hater, but that’s not the case,” he said. “We had to strike a balance between private business and public safety.”

Councilor Joe Delsanter said he, too, disagrees with ice cream truck drivers being treated as door-to-door lawyers, comparing them to grocery and parcel delivery drivers who are invited home rather than vendors who are unannounced and arrive uninvited.

Delsanter said he recently spoke to representatives from the county and state health officials and that those officials see no reason not to allow a company like an ice cream vendor to operate in the city.

“And we’re the only city that (Celeste’s Tasty Treats) does business that has denied a seller approval this year,” he said.

DeForest said he was also in regular contact with state and county health officials, which communicated his decision to continue to withhold approval from the provider at this point. He added that the City of Medina also chose to temporarily withhold the seller’s approval, while Wadsworth did not.

Should the Council take a closer look?

Delsanter asked if the council could revise the legislation defining ice cream vendors, as requested in the local residents’ petition. Dennis Nevar, assistant legal director, said the council had essentially already done so with the 2020 city ordinance amendment.

At the time, Nevar said, the council also called for ice cream truck sellers to be subject to the same background checks and seller approvals as door-to-door sellers, since ice cream sellers mainly sell to children.

Because of this, Nevar said, there is still a clear difference between ice cream truck vendors and other grocery and parcel delivery companies that don’t require employee background checks.

Delsanter said he still believes the council could define ice cream truck vendors as non-attorneys while maintaining the background check requirements.

The Council took no action at the March 22nd meeting but agreed to continue the discussion at future meetings.

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