Ice cream trucks coming to Scottsdale

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Mayor 'looking forward to ice cream trucks being back in Scottsdale'

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Scottsdale City Council overturned the city's decades-long ban on ice cream trucks with a 5-2 vote on Tuesday.

Scottsdale decided to ban mobile food trucks in the 1970s because of concerns that the trucks were being used as fronts for drug operations.

Dubbed, Leo's Law, the proposed ordinance to bring the trucks back is named for Leo Blavin, a teenager who launched his own ice cream truck business, Leo's Ice Cream, in 2011. Stunned to learn he wouldn't be able to do business in his own city, Blavin contacted the mayor and work on lifting the ban began.

"Children across the country love the daily Ice Cream Truck visit," Blavin, then 16, wrote in an email to Mayor Jim Lane in August 2011. "Yet in Scottsdale 'The Most Livable City' such a fond childhood aspect is outlawed."

Ice cream trucks have always been allowed on private properties in Scottsdale by invitation only.  But until Tuesday's vote, operating on public streets was illegal.

Some residents feared allowing the trucks would lead to increased crime in their neighborhoods. That fear is the reason ice cream trucks were banned in the first place. 

Others were worried about child safety from traffic concerns to child predators.

"The Mayor and city staff have taken great steps to make sure that the rights of businesses are balanced with the rights of residents," J.P. Twist, the mayor's chief of staff, said in an email Tuesday afternoon, just hours before the City Council meeting. "Every concern that we heard from residents during our public outreach period has been addressed in the current ordinance. For example, all operators will be required to pass a criminal background check. Will be required to be licensed by the city and will be required to have extensive insurance requirements, among many other things."

In addition, the ordinance only allows operation from 10 a.m. to sunset. Vendors are also prohibited from selling ice cream in commercial parts of Scottsdale, city parks, and within 600 feet of a school when school is in session. Vehicles have to carry "Watch for children" signage.

The ice cream trucks also cannot play their signature jingles while stopped and conducting sales.

What's more, operators would have to wait 48 hours before returning to a specific neighborhood, which means they could not claim a corner or a street on a daily basis.

Business owners have to be licensed, have food handler permits, carry liability insurance and other restrictions to ensure child safety.

The new ordinance becomes active in 30 days.

The City Council also voted to approve stricter regulations on pedicabs in Scottsdale.