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Reviving Sore Issue, Flagler Beach Readies to Ban Ice Cream Trucks Outright

| September 25, 2013

An old tradition faces new rules in Flagler Beach. (Karah Levely-Rinaldi)

An old tradition faces new rules in Flagler Beach. (Karah Levely-Rinaldi)

In Flagler Beach, proposals that make residents angry never die. They just fade away to return at a later date, again and again. And so for the third time in 19 months, a proposal to regulate roving food vendors re-emerging, this time with a distinct difference: the proposal is in the form of an ordinance that singles out mobile vendors—and bans them altogether from city limits except during special events.

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It is the most far-reaching and strict proposal yet, exceeding what most Flagler Beach city commissioners had suggested to date, and likely to again stir up the sort of anger and opposition that previous but vaguer such proposals had drawn when discussed in April and February 2012. The city commission takes up the proposal at its Thursday meeting, which begins at 5:30 p.m. at Flagler Beach’s city hall. But the meeting agenda is stacked with more than two dozen items, with the mobile vendor item scheduled toward the end–when audience members have usually tired of the slog.

Flagler Beach doesn’t have a serious food vending “problem,” nor is it prone to much roving food-vending traffic. The proposals have been largely seen as targeting one vendor in particular: Sandy Kinney, a Bunnell resident who sells ice cream out of her truck, and has been doing so for several years in Bunnell, Palm Coast, unincorporated parts of Flagler County, and of course Flagler Beach.

But Kinney’s selling in Flagler Beach also angers existing ice cream businesses that have invested time and money on their brick-and-mortar locations, where they must abide by city regulations. To some of them, Kinney is afforded an unfair competitive advantage by being allowed to sell from her truck.

But by no means to all. Karen Barchowski, one of the three co-owners of Sally’s Ice Cream on North A1A, has championed Kinney’s operation all along. “I have supported her from day one,” Barchowski said, as have her two partners in the business.

City Commissioner Jane Mealy, who has led the charge against mobile vendors, has insisted that she’s never sought to ban ice cream trucks in particular, only to regulate mobile vending in general, which city ordinances leave entirely silent. The proposed ordinance ends that silence.

“This was what I was looking for to begin with,” Mealy said Wednesday. “I don’t see Flagler Beach as a town that has ice cream trucks or whatever kind of mobile vending just riding around, ringing bells, making all kinds of noise, and I think they’re very unsafe. Kids run out in the street without looking. I just don’t think they’re necessary.” Her strongest reason against mobile vending, Mealy added, is their unfairness to brick-and-mortar businesses, which pay rent, pay taxes and abide by regulations.  “I think it’s more friendly to the brick and mortar businesses than to have those trucks around,” Mealy said.

jane mealy flagler beach city commission

Jane Mealy (© FlaglerLive)

When the issue was previously discussed, Commissioner Steve Settle echoed Mealy’s concerns about safety, and favored limiting the range of vendors within the city to specific areas. But Commissioners Marshall Shupe and Joy McGrew were more supportive of mobile vendors—at least they were so last year. “I’m in favor of vendors,” McGrew said categorically, though she was willing to hear about some form of compromise that would regulate them—not ban them. Shupe had no opposition to ice cream trucks, but he was opposed to what he considered to be shadier vendors who may be hawking watches or meats out of their trunks. Legally, however, allowing one type of vendor but nto another could raise issues for the city.

Before writing the proposed ordinance, Drew Smith, the city attorney, had conversations with commissioners individually to get a sense of what they’d be comfortable for, Mealy said. “This seemed to be what people were saying,” Mealy said.

The proposed ordinance leaves no room for doubt: “Mobile sales operations and mobile food service operations, collectively described as mobile operations under this chapter, shall be prohibited unless such mobile operations are conducted at a special event for which a special event permit has been issued by the city.” And mobile food vending at special events will itself be limited geographically to the area where the event is taking place. In other words an ice cream truck may not travel up and down State Road A1A on July 4.


Both times the issue was raised previously, Kinney, who is a single mother and works several jobs, mobilized public opposition to turn back the city’s regulatory push. Because of her single-mother status and the fact that the vending in question focuses on an ice cream truck, the issue has had some emotional appeal as much as it’s raised questions about how Flagler Beach wants to define its support for business.

“I am sad to see this,” Lee Ann Page, who was among some two dozen people reacting to the issue on a Facebook page when it re-emerged in 2012, wrote. “Flagler beach is one of the most wonderful cities I ever lived in. I just don’t understand why they are not supporting the ice cream truck. Flagler is about small town living and what is more small town than an ice cream truck. Hope they wake up and support their small business than hurting them. I saw them hurt someone trying to upgrade the Pier restaurant also. That is so wrong.”

But Amy Wilson wrote in the same thread: “Is it possible that this issue is being driven by the other local Ice Cream shoppe? Does she have the permits, pay taxes and follow all the necessary mumbo jumbo that they do? If not, [then]  this is a valid issue. All businesses should have to abide by the same set of rules. I applaud her for doing whatever it takes to make a living but at the same time her personal situation should not be a deciding factor. Who’s to say that the owner or workers at Sally’s Ice Cream aren’t in her same situation.” (Barchowski, Sally’s co-owner, again stresses that brick-or-mortar or not, Kinney has every right to have her ice cream truck.)

Flagler Beach Mobile Vendors Ordinance

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33 Responses for “Reviving Sore Issue, Flagler Beach Readies to Ban Ice Cream Trucks Outright”

  1. rhweir says:

    Gimme a Bomb Pop!

  2. Dave says:

    Not much Good Humor at City Hall.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So sad….local businesses are in sad shape if they can’t compete with a moving vending vehicle which has limited supplies, choices etc. If someone is willing to work at making a business a go, and is succeeding, let them do it….the people obviously like it. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t buy from the vendor and it would put them out of business. The moving ice cream truck brings back so many childhood memories….what a bunch of lemon heads.

  4. Leann says:

    What a crying shame! The city commission has nothing better to do then target mobile vendor these days? Mobile food vendors thrive in cities all over the world. People are losing their jobs and taking what $ they have left and trying to create their own employment…stop taking that from them! Let these people have their businesses!

  5. flaglerresident says:

    Without controversy in Flagler Beach, they would not be operating status quo. Is there a single month of a single year that they just can keep quiet out there? Does every single thing have to be a catastrophe for this city? Com’on really?

    If the other ice cream shops want to keep with the times, lower their overhead, then purchase an ice cream truck. Why force this other lady to comply the otherway? Is it not a two way street?

  6. agnese says:

    Really, nothing better to do ?

  7. Dickette says:

    Here we go again. Flagler Beach commissioners making ordinances without letting the residents of Flagler Beach V-O-T-E . Communism at its finest! Telling us WHAT THEY can do, WHEN THEY can do it and WHERE THEY can do it(THEY being the FB commissioners) and NO I didn’t vote for Settle or Mealy. Guess they never had “sweet sound” of the Ice Cream Truck in their neighborhood. As a child growing up in the big city of Jacksonville, we couldn’t wait for the musical sound of the Ice Cream Truck. It has truly been a blessing to see my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter’s face light up when she hears the “Sandalina Ice Cream Truck” coming down our street in Flagler Beach. Way to go Commissioners CRUSH another childs dream.
    Yeah I am livid and pray this “better idea” goes AWAY permanently!
    FB Grandma

  8. Florida Native says:

    Typical Flagler Beach bulls–t. Next topic.

  9. Florida Native says:

    Between Palm Coast’s anti-business attitude,red light cameras and Flagler Beach’s unfriendly (pay to go on the pier) attitude toward visitors and residents alike I hope both dry up and blow away.

  10. Flagler Bch messed up says:

    Is it fair to brick and mortar that people buy things off of them there computers? What will Mrs. Mealy do to save them? Glad her focus is on a ice cream truck that runs through the city a couple of days a week. Tue leadership is hard to find. A safety hazard? Driving up and stopping and some children a $2 ice cream, that’s a safety hazard? I bet in Mrs Mealy’s campaign she talked about a good city for the children. I’ve seen the children’s eyes light up when they see the ice cream truck but now Mrs Mealy must put a stop to this unbelievable act that is happening in our community. We must stop electing officials who are on the take or can’t use common sense. Mrs Mealy a difference maker and leader you are not.

  11. Ben Dover says:

    Boy all these cities counsels, are the same around here , anything or anybody trying to make a living and they don t have their greedy paws in the kitty , they ban it, the ones here in Palm Coast soooo concerned about safety with their 44 red light camera`s just took all the venders jobs away at the park events , hawking their own booze , wouldn` t doubt these dumb rednecks ain`t making it in their bathtubs to save a buck , and why would they not only do that to people trying to earn a living , but to the children , some of my fondest memories as a kid was hearing the bells of the ice cream truck , we all run home our moms with the money waiting at the door , its was what made hot summer afternoons special or they wouldn` t be burnt into our memories, how low can these dirt bags get , first a woman can t make cupcakes to try and get by , now trying to abolish ice cream trucks , whats next, they going to shoot Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny , just like the red light cams it has nothing to do with safety , its them not wanting someone making a living without them getting their cuts , its why they use the same 5or 6 landscape and construction companies , they pay them their kick backs , cant wait to vote all , these thieving , lying , greedy slugs out of office

  12. Rick Belhumeur says:

    One of my greatest joys as a child was hearing the ice cream truck off in a distance and waiting for it to come down my street. Riding around, ringing bells, making all kinds of noise, unsafe… Really? When is the last time that you had an ice cream truck’s bell/chime wake you up? Is there really that much speeding traffic in town to endanger children wanting an ice cream? ? Competition to existing businesses?… I don’t think so. Certainly not an ice cream truck. If you believe that vendors are really a problem, ban vendors from the business district but not miles away on the residential streets of the city. Whatever happened to free enterprise anyway? Mobile vendors have expenses too. Maybe not the same expenses as a stationary business, but vehicles, gasoline and vehicle maintenance are not cheap.
    I truly don’t believe that mobile vendors are a nuisance in Flagler Beach but if you really think they need to be regulated, make them get a license to sell their wares within the city and ban them from the business district.
    How can any parent with a conscience ban ice cream trucks from their neighborhood?

  13. Christopher V. says:

    Ice Cream Trucks have been around for-ever, competing with storefronts. This is just simpletons who have been given phantom power to attempt to control people. Obviously, a bunch of dems trying to supress capitalism.

  14. Schottey says:

    Cities around the country are supporting food trucks and an ice cream truck revival, but not Flagler Beach…oh no. What a trite and petty vendetta. Businesses shouldn’t run and cry to government if they’re getting their butts handed to them. It’s called the free market. Open your own trucks if you think it’s an unfair advantage.

  15. Gia says:

    If you start with one, you’re getting more. Specially with kids unsupervised on streets this is wrong business.

  16. confidential says:

    I think is a very bad idea to ban the ice cream truck vendor!. That is as American as apple pie!! My kids (now 42 and 48 years old) running to us on weekends and holidays with a loud request ” Ice Cream Maaaan (now Lady)” as soon as the sweet musical bells eco in our block! Such a sweet memories still bring to my senses when I hear our current frozen treats calling nowadays! For those that do not have the time or are near to Sally’s (I think is the name) ice cream store in A1A, is very convenient to buy the treats from the mobile vendors. Banning it is not a way to promote economic recovery by restricting sales over protectionism! We the store front businesses owners of any type have to deal with competition as well all around us with no one to protect us….why the bias here? Does the Flagler Commission believe that is the best for visitors on a crowded beach front holiday, to grab their kids, get of the beach, jump on their cars, loosing their parking spot, making life threatening U Turns against forever fast passing traffic, on narrow A1A and drive several miles to go buy ice cream from Sally’s store on A1A, other than from the conveniently traveling Ice Cream Lady by them? Would be same as restricting our local Boiled Peanuts peddlers up the road, were I buy mine often….in favor of the gas station convenience store that sale those few miles inside town. C’mon live and let live. Do not destroy one more vestige of Americana in Good Old Flagler Beach!

  17. Outsider says:

    It’s kind of interesting that they claim they are concerned with the kids’s safety while buying ice cream off the truck. And there’s no safety issue trying to cross A1A on a Saturday to get from the pier/beach to the ice cream store? I think we know what the real issue is here.

  18. Jackie Mulligan says:

    I guess we are doing the Flagler Beach 3 step again 1 step forward and 2 steps back.How many times do we have to revisit “non-issues???
    This is what small minded people do, they never see the big picture.
    Look around folks,If i wanted to open another Ice Cream store or 2 in Flagler Beach there is nothing
    to stop me, and if I wanted to charge less than the others, still nothing to stop me, what would the criers do? go to the Commissioners and say I was taking business from them??? The “brick and Mortar”get all the tourists, the ice cream truck takes nothing fro them, they are catering to the locals. This is FREE Enterprise,We do not ask how much is your overhead, not our business.We do not live in a Socialist society,where we tell people that what they make will be regulated.

    Please, look to bigger problems than an ICE CREAM TRUCK!!!
    If someone wants to pay over $100,00 for an ice cream shop, that’s their business, but it doesn’t mean someone in a truck is less entitled to do it a different way.
    We have beaten the dead horses waay too many times.END IT !
    Thank You
    Jackie Mulligan

  19. confidential says:

    In spite that I am not a mobile vendor, I ask all here to gather support for our Mobile Vendors aka Americana at its best as much as our Route 66 is and go to this meeting at 5.30 today and vote down Jane Mealy’s proposal! I yet do not understand why Flagler Beach residents keep re-electing this woman. She only protects big business associated with FCCOC and the elite interest.

    • Gretchen Smith says:

      Dear confidential,

      I wanted to provide some perspective on your comment above…. While a few of our members are large organizations like Flagler County Schools or Florida Hospital Flagler, 85 percent are small businesses with less than 10 employees.

      Thank you.
      Gretchen Smith
      Flagler County Chamber

  20. Johnny Taxpayer says:

    Typical. I bet the stick and brick store owners are “small Government” folks that don’t want Government involved in the operation of their business, until they can use Government so they don’t have to compete. There is plenty of market share available for both mobile vendors and store fronts, the last thing the City of Flagler Beach needs to do is get involved in determining who get’s to be successful and who doesn’t.

    But then again when you apply for a Business tax receipt (aka Occupational License) it says “application for the privilege of engaging in business”. The privilege? Did you know that it’s now a privilege to engage in feeding your family?

  21. Sherry Epley says:

    Part of our wonderful American culture is the street vendor. Our town relies heavily on the tourist industry. Tourists are attracted not only for the beach but to enjoy our “village” culture. In my mind, more legitimate street vendors (who are licensed and meet health and safety regulations) should actually be encouraged. For example, New York is made even more charming by their hot dog, pizza and chestnut vendors, and yes. . . even their surburban icecream trucks. The kids just love them!

    We simply should NOT be favoring one style of product/service delivery system or vendor over another in our community. . . especially when there have NOT been a long list of safety or health violations. This smacks of local government over-reach to protect a particular business. . . who could have their own ice cream truck. Yes, if there are “real” health and safety issues in the future, then we can “regulate” these kinds of businesses, but putting a complete STOP to them for no apparent reason is not what our citizens want and not what the focus of our city commission should be.

    If traffic is slowed down, then so be it. Do we want to continue to develop Flagler Beach as an attractive place to stop and enjoy our delightful coastal town, or should we keep everyone off the streets so tourists can speed on through surburbia?

    By the way, can we please stop politizing every issue. . . I am a Democrat who patronizes and is in favor of small businesses. LET’S SUPPORT THE ICECREAM TRUCK!

  22. Random Citizen says:

    The flaw in the “progressive” mindset that has besieged Flagler County and the rest of America is the continued removal of more and more of our freedoms.

    It requires the liberties of others be removed in favor of the benefit of a few who pretend government needs to exercise more control for their good. It is the exact same corrupt politics that destroyed communist Russia that my senior friends who grew up their talk about.

    So, in addition to losing ice cream trucks, everyone who is paying for insurance is now going to pay for 3 million people who don’t pay for insurance. (Agreed, no one should be turned down or away for medical care! Absolutely! But there is a much better way to do it.) Rather than the few in DC reducing health care costs, they increased the costs and spread the increase out to the currently insured, you. A family who is now going to receive full coverage for $250.00 when it costs $1,000.00 = $800.00 spread out to the rest who pay insurance. And the Progressives stuck it to seniors again by redusing Medicare benefits and with an additional 3.8% Medicare Surtax to buy even more votes. Seniors paid their entire working life for it and now they will have to pay an additional 3.8% to keep it. It’s a decision a few in DC made to buy millions of votes that cost the other millions of Americans dearly – rather than reduce medical expenses. And now the American work week is about to be reduced to 29 hours and Obama has sworn he is willing to shut the government down to defend the lunacy! Millions of Americans are about to lose either health insurance coverage and/or 28% of their income and the Progressive Democrats are willing to shut the government down to do so. Who is watching your back? Do we have any love for each other left in this country? It’s crazy making!

    Of course Clinton and Obama can stand on the public stage and claim they don’t mind the tax increase to themeselves from what they are doing. Let’s not be blind. The more votes they buy offsets their tax increase by $millions upon $millions more in book endorsements and speaking engagements. They profit from it in a huge way at the expense of most hard working Americans!

    There is a reason we have multiple parties and multiple views in society – it’s to prevent stupid things like ice cream trucks from being banned for the benefit of a few who don;t want it to interfere with their profits.

    And when the 99% movement catches on to the con-job the progressive movement is up to and realize their vacation home, their annual vacations, their children’s college is no longer affordable when they grow up, maybe then, people will storm the gates of WA DC and demand the government be put on a leash and not be allowed to spend any more than 10% of what any citizen earns. We can no longer trust local councils or 435 people in DC with our freedoms.

    Has the time come for a tax payer’s revolt?

  23. Mr. Consistent says:

    I bet commissioners get free ice cream.

  24. What's Next? says:

    I guess that once again the powers at the helm have let go of the wheel to focus on the smallest of issues that they could concern themselves with. I guess in their quest for fairness, they have forgotten they themselves are already restricting “brick and mortar” businesses in their fair town by exclusion. They have this thing they call First Friday every month that only caters to the businesses that surround Veterans Park and not inviting the guests that attend to venture out to those businesses that are not within a block of the event. Have you ever heard a speaker or anyone else in charge of the microphone suggest to visit the businesses north of Moody or south of the pier? Yeah, I know that they are invited at no charge to come and set up a table at the park so that every un-supervised child running wild while the “parents” sit back in their lounge chairs and enjoy the free concerts. But, that strikes me as not being the same as having the bricks and mortar, does it you? Also, think about the “safety” issue that has been mentioned about the kids running in the street to catch the ice cream truck. Have you ever seen the kids in the park being escorted by the police or their “parents” to cross Moody to get to either the dollar store or the c-store behind Finn’s? Yeah, me neither. I guess their safety concern is only during the day when the ice cream truck is making the rounds, not at night when every driver coming that way is straining their necks to see who is on stage and not watching the kids in the street. The town council of Flagler Beach is too self important, too inwardly focused, and too damn full of their positions to know which way is up when looking though their own legs cause they like the view a little too much!

  25. Ohno says:

    ” Kids running around the street” ?

    How about parking on A1A and trying to keep the kids off a highway!

  26. Ralph Belcher says:

    It appears to me that to some degree, the Flagler Beach City Commission has an ***intolerance to some forms of competition***.

    I can see how naturally the city’s sentiment would lean toward it’s ‘brick and mortar’ retailers. The brick and mortars fill otherwise empty storefronts and help pay taxes.

    Myself, I have a “let the chips fall as they may” attitude in regard to retailers. I don’t know how much these trucks (or this truck) takes a bite out of the other fellow’s lunch, so to speak. Unless there is some health hazard issues, then just license the trucks. If they block streets and alleyways, then the cops can just issue a vehicular citation. As for kids running across A1A;. they’re running in front of traffic from the beach to get to the brick and mortars anyhow. Not something we like to see, but it’s there, every hour of every day.

    Hmm… Maybe it was the Flagler Beach Farmer’s Market that caused the Food Lion to pack up and leave since they couldn’t make a profit selling vegetables and fruits? Get the drift?

    Wake up, folks.

  27. James says:

    What has happened to our country!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Ray Thorne says:

    Ban police chiefs, fire chiefs, ice cream vendors…. I hear the mailman is next…..

  29. flaglerresident says:

    If this was a safety concern issue, instead of banning all together the ice cream truck, make the ordinance set up so that the operator of the truck will not place the stop on A1A, but a side street. That there are cones set up around the vehicle at the stop like AT&T does when servicing the telephone system. Have yellow flashing warning lights on the vehicle, etc…

    There are many other ways to make this safe. Also, how many children have been hit by a vehicle enroute to or standing at, the Ice Cream truck in Flagler Beach. I do know that incidents have happened in other areas of the country and this is a legitimate concern, but what this commission is trying to do is coming from one business on Flagler Beach.

    I think the best thing this commission can do from now on is this: Put your idea down on a piece of paper. Write down your idea/plan. Then write the exact opposite of this idea down. Use the exact opposite to propose to the public!!! You all lack the reasoning and accountability of any reasonable human.

    If we all want to make this sting, stop patronizing the “brick and mortar” business all together and then the business owner will see what they had was better than what they have now.

  30. What is the big deal says:

    Everyone needs to make a living.

  31. Because says:

    Let’s see….which “problem” should I ponder…..healthcare, government shutdown or ice cream vendors in Flagler Beach.

    Obviously….we are the idiots for having voted these commissioners into office! They make me crazy!!!!!!!

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