The Sideshow

Scottsdale, Arizona, debating whether to lift decades-old ice-cream truck ban

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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A treat in Boston, a crime in Scottsdale (Ann Hermes/Christian Science Monitor/AP)

Ice cream trucks are a welcome addition to thousands of neighborhood streets every summer. But they've been illegal in Scottsdale, Arizona, since the 1970s.

And the Arizona Republic reports that the ban isn't likely to be lifted without a fight, despite a recent proposal that would allow the trucks to return.

An ordinance that would allow ice-cream trucks in Scottsdale neighborhoods was met with mostly criticism during an open house this week. The trucks were originally banned over concerns that vendors were actually selling illegal drugs.

About 15 residents who attended Tuesday's session said they opposed the proposal to lift a decades-old ban on street vendors in Scottsdale.

Under current law, vendors are allowed to operate only on private property or during special events and after obtaining a permit from the city. However, some city residents say they're more worried about public safety.

"It wasn't just the drugs being sold in high schools from the vendors, but it was because of the safety," Sonnie Kirtley, who chairs the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale, said at Tuesday's meeting. "We were talking about the safety of the children running across the street to go to the ice-cream trucks."

And while it's safe to assume that support for the ice-cream trucks is overwhelming among the city's youth, the kids do not actually vote, unlike the 15 adults who showed up to oppose the proposed change.

Mayor Jim Lane has offered the ordinance to help local business entrepreneurs. But his chief-of-staff J.P. Twist told the paper that the proposal is "not a done deal."

"The idea behind this is to figure out a way to be less restrictive than overly restrictive," he said. "We're not trying to step on anybody's toes."

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