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Food Truck Ban Upheld by Gibraltar Town Board, Area Business Prepares to Sue

TOWN OF GIBRALTAR, Wis. (WFRV) - When Kevin Howard and his business partners opened White Cottage Red Door two years ago, a food truck was always a part of the plan.

Howard explains that while he bakes pies, donuts, and chocolates in the building's small kitchen, larger food items like hamburgers and barbecue would have to be cooked in a larger area, and so the group purchased a food truck. 

Howard told Local 5 that in the fall of 2017, White Cottage Red Door's food truck opened and was a great success, until officials from the Town of Gibraltar informed the business orders that the food truck was in violation of a town ordinance prohibiting sales on wheels. The daily fine for violators stands at $500 a day.

In May, Howard and his business partners gathered with their lawyers in front of the Door County Courthouse, giving the town 120 days to reconsider the ban before legal action would be taken.

In a Town Board meeting on August 27, the request was officially denied by the town board, and now Howard says the store's owners are preparing to file an official lawsuit in Door County Circuit Court.

Howard says that he does not understand why the town has taken issue with the truck.

"There are a lot of restaurants have outside seating," he said, "that have carryout windows, we're kind of the same way, we'd have outdoor seating, picnic benches for people to stop at, they can come in, get something quick to go, the only difference is that ours is on wheels."

Howard added that White Cottage Red Door never intended to move the food truck off of their own property.

With the ban in effect all summer, the food truck was left to sit and wait, until the owners decided to sell the mobile restaurant.

Howard says that if they do end up winning the lawsuit and are allowed to operate a food truck on their property, the White Cottage Red Door will purchase a new food truck.

Still, he and his business owners are frustrated at the situation.

"The state has inspected us, they licensed us, the county came and made sure we had the proper parking and zoning and things like that, and so we feel that we have a legal right to operate this business on our own property," he said.

Local 5 reached out to all five members of the Gibraltar Town Board for this report. Only one of the five responded, but declined to comment on the situation due to the pending litigation.

 


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