A pending change to the Libertyville village code would allow mobile vendors to operate on private properties, but it would also eliminate the summer tradition of ice cream trucks plying neighborhood streets.
Under new rules, Gina Crater-Lilja would be allowed to park her Fashion in Motion mobile boutique in driveways of individual homes or shopping center parking lots, with the consent of the owner. The downtown area -- except for special events -- would remain off limits to her and other mobile vendors.
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"We're an established business," the Libertyville resident said. "The only difference is we're on four wheels.
Mobile vending has been permitted with a license in Libertyville, but only on public rights of way. Interest has been limited, according to village officials, but the practice generally has become more popular and is expected to increase.
One casualty of the change would be ice cream truck sales.
"This is not a ban on ice cream trucks, but it puts them in the same classification as everybody else," Village Attorney David Pardys told the village board this past week as it considered accepting the plan commission recommendation.
The full board voted 5-1 to approve the recommendation and direct the village staff to prepare an ordinance for official action June 10. A change has been winding its way through the process for about a year, since Lilja and co-owner Dominic Balbi told village officials they would prefer to respond to invitations from homeowners and private businesses rather than selling from the street.
"They wanted to operate on private property and the code wouldn't allow it," said John Spoden, community development director.
"They weren't the applicant but they certainly were the reason we took a look at it," he added. "There probably will be others."
At the direction of the village board, the plan commission studied the matter and held hearings on proposed changes. The recommendation was to allow the changes with four conditions: vendors will not be allowed to operate in the downtown commercial core district; they are limited to a total of eight hours at one site, four calendar days a year; outdoor seating or external speakers are not allowed; and no more than five licenses will be issued. The annual license fee will be $200.
The provisions do not apply to sales made directly to businesses, retail establishments or service companies.
"This is a big change for Libertyville," said Lilja, who added she plans to participate in an event Sunday at the Rockland Plaza shopping center.
The plan commission recommended approval of the change, but two dissenters said they wanted ice cream vendors exempted.
Pardys said that while the ice cream truck may be a "part of Americana," there is no legal basis to exempt it. That didn't sit well with Trustee Rich Moras.
"I think that's a quality of life that I'm not prepared to end with this," he said, in voting against the recommendation.
"I would need something that doesn't preclude ice cream truck sales in residential neighborhoods" to support it, he added.