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Relish this: Franklin OKs hot dog vendor

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This summer you’ll be able to grab a hot dog in downtown Franklin after officials allowed the first food cart on city sidewalks.

The city plans to draft rules to regulate food carts and food trucks but gave a special approval to city resident Leon Joiner to open a hot dog cart this year.

Mayor Joe McGuinness expects more mobile food vendors to show up in Franklin in the future and wants the city to have rules that specifically address those businesses. Board of works member Bob Swinehamer said he wasn’t sure Joiner would get enough business to be profitable in downtown Franklin but wanted to give him the opportunity to try.

City rules currently don’t allow anyone to sell food or items on public sidewalks, so the board of works approved an exception with certain stipulations. Joiner will have to provide information to the city about his cart and provide a mobile food license from the health department. The cart will be allowed in only the downtown business district, has to be parked away from fire hydrants and handicap-accessible ramps and must leave at least

5 feet of space so pedestrians can get around it.

City officials also limited the months and daily hours that he’ll be allowed to operate. He can run the cart from April 15 to Sept. 15. Allowable hours will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so he can serve people who might be visiting downtown bars, restaurants or attractions at night.

During downtown festivals that attract food vendors, Joiner would have to pay a fee to serve at those events like any other vendor, McGuinness said.

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