IC Council votes to regulate game-day vendors


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The Iowa City City Council took its final action on the Melrose ordinance during its meeting Tuesday evening, voting 7-0 to enact regulations on game-day vendors across from the stadium.

The new ordinance will prohibit the sale of alcohol and limit areas for vendors to set up on University of Iowa football game days. Vendors will also have to pay a $75 permit fee to sell products in the regulated zone.

“The positive thing is that we are on the table and the university is on board at this point,” said Doug Boothroy, the city’s director of Housing and Inspection Services.

But only time will tell if the ordinance will be worth it to the city, Councilor Terry Dickens said.

“You have to try it out to see if it’ll work,” he said. “It’s good to see the university and the vendors working together.”

Vendor Chuck Ford, the voice of the “Big Ass Turkey Legs” stand, said Tuesday’s vote was a “no-brainer.”

“I think they did the right thing, and I don’t have a problem with the rules and regulations,” he said.

Several officials expressed caution about exempting organizations from the alcohol-sale rule, among them the Magic Bus.

“This is a road map for all other nonprofit groups that want to find a way around the regulations,” said City Attorney Eleanor Dilkes.

Noah Silvey, the president of the Magic Bus, said he is working to find a new way to appeal to the council.

“Right now, we’re working with lawyers and trying to figure out a way to work with the council,” he said.” We thank the staff for giving us a chance to try to move forward to get an exemption.”

City officials began formulating the ordinance in April after an Iowa City panel suggested prohibiting all vendors after hearing neighborhood complaints. Residents called for a vendor ban because of the problems created by tailgating, including trash, vomit, and public urination.

Public outcry followed the suggestion, prompting city officials to negotiate with the vendors to craft a compromise ordinance. At that point, the university had not taken a strong stance on the issue.

At a June 29 council meeting, Boothroy announced the UI would possibly provide Dumpsters and portable toilets.

More recently, a letter offering amendments to vending regulations was submitted to City Council by Jean Walker, a Melrose Neighborhood representative.

Walker said she is happy that the council has taken her neighborhood’s suggestions into consideration.

However, the council did not agree to ban shish-kebab stick even though she had raised concerns about their being hazard to “pets and the neighborhood wildlife.”

“Everybody is looking for creative ideas to make this work,” Boothroy said.

Boothroy also discussed a possible nonprofit working with the city on game-day cleanup.

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