BALTIMORE (WMAR) — On Sunday night, Cherry Hill neighbors came out to protest to keep convenience store trucks in their community. The city gave them two weeks notice to leave by Monday due to parking issues.
Neighbors said they use these trucks daily and now that they have to move it will make the food desert situation worse.
They’re basically 7-11s on wheels, with basics like toilet paper and detergent. Things that people would buy at the supermarket if they had one in the neighborhood.
That’s why convenience trucks, also known as candy trucks or buses, appeared in Cherry Hill 70 years ago.
“I was raised off the buses,” truck owner Paul Samuels said.
“I use them every day, multiple times a day,” Cordelia Commander said. “These are our corner stores.”
The trucks fill a void for families looking to save money, for people who need more than what neighborhood stores provide, and for seniors.
“We have elderly people who cannot even leave their homes. They call and say ‘Hey, can you get me some soap?’ said truck owner Craig Johnson.
Truck owners also mediate between problems, babysit when needed, and lend money.
“Here, we help each other. This is why we are a community,” truck owner Dontay Franklin said.
“There will be days when I won’t have a bus ticket, I won’t be able to get on the bus. I can go to the bus and say, “Dude, give me $2 so I can get on the bus,” Darrick Johnson said.
Two weeks ago, the trucks were advised that starting Monday noon, they had to leave the site or they would be towed by the city.
Community members gathered downtown on Sunday evening to raise awareness.
“It doesn’t make sense,” Samuels said.
In a statement to WMAR-2 News shortly after the notices were published, the Housing Authority said:
The Cherry Hill parking lot is for Cherry Hill residents and their guests only. Several illegal or unauthorized vehicles are parked in the Cherry Hill development. Some of the vehicles in question are food trucks and commercial tractors.
Notices have been distributed to vehicles advising the owner that the vehicle will be towed. Instead of giving 24 hours notice, we have decided to give the owner of the vehicles 2 weeks. The notices are in accordance with City of Baltimore laws which state that commercial vehicles must not be parked in residential areas.
We are not aware of any resident or vehicle owner having any arrangement or agreement to have their vehicle on our property.
We have no confirmation that these are officially licensed food truck operations. However, we can confirm that these unauthorized vehicles interfere with residents’ access to parking in their own community.
It is not appropriate for these food trucks to park on federally subsidized property without our permission.”
“I have a license from the state that they issued, so they tell us the license that we get from the state doesn’t mean anything,” Craig Johnson said. “They said they don’t have a resolution for us right now. They say they want to help us get into compliance, which we already think we are in compliance. »
“We can move our buses if they say parking is a problem overnight. Give us a solution instead of trying to create more problems,” Franklin said.
They are hosting a community cooking protest Monday starting at noon downtown.