New Ordinance In Hammond Puts Hot Dog Vendor Out Of Business

HAMMOND, Ind. (CBS) — A Vietnam veteran says he’s in a battle he never thought he’d have to fight: a battle to make a living in the city where he lives.

In the past, Richard “Rosko” Carrano has done that selling hot dogs, but as CBS 2’s Pamela Jones reports, a new ordinance is making that impossible.

People know him as “Rosko the Hot Dog Man,” but right now his cart in Hammond stands cold and empty.

“If I sell a hot dog today, I’ll be fined $2,000,” Carrano said.

That’s because the Hammond City Council changed its mobile vendor ordinances in March, adding restrictions for people like Carrano.

“With the ordinance that they just created, it is impossible to sell my product in the city of Hammond,” Carrano said.

The ordinance requires mobile vendors stay mobile, like ice cream trucks, only stopping for customers ready to buy.

The Vietnam War veteran says his stand normally packs propane tanks and steaming water – and can’t be moved that easily.

“I fought for my country and now I have to fight for my small business,” Carrano said.

City officials said part of the reason for the change to the ordinance is safety. Right now, vendors have to be 200 feet from a busy intersection so no one gets hurt.

“We had people who were selling items to moving cars and cars were pulling up and it was causing traffic issues,” said Hammond City Attorney Kristina Kantar.

So Carrano found a way to comply – sometimes moving to a vacant lot. But the city says that’s not allowed either, because some are city property and there’s potential someone could get hurt there, too.

“If he should be injured, if something should happen to him, the city could be liable,” Kantar said.

So for now, Carrano is collecting petition signatures in an effort to get the city council to ease up and let him sell what he sells best.

“It just breaks my heart. I worked on this business since 2003 and I worked real hard to get what I got,” Carrano said.

Kantar says they’re not trying to stop any single vendor from selling and the new law does not stop them from selling at festivals and carnivals.

But part of the issue is that brick and mortar businesses complain sometimes the street vendors park in front of them and undercut their prices.

  • Mary Passaglia

    If he truely was a legal hotdog vendor prior to the adoption of this ordinance, he should be “grandfathered.” His license can be revoked and not be transfered when he retires, but let him continue his livelihood if there were no problems with his operation prior to this time. If his location was and is not a hazard (hopefully this has not been a subjective evaluation), he should be allowed to continue to sell in that location until he retires.

    I grew up in Chicago Illinois and enjoyed the corner hotdog vendor numerous times.

  • righttrack

    I wonder how many of these vendors pay the full income taxes on their earnings.

    • Thomas

      Righttrack: I wonder just how many of all Americans pay their full tax on the income they earn. But never mind that is not the issue at hand. Read the article

  • » Rosko the hot dog man needs help!

    […] be are playing to the local restaurant owners.  In fact the news station makes that point at the end of the video. “But part of the issue is that brick and mortar businesses complain sometimes the street […]

  • G Maiden

    This is BS. This man is not going to put any business out of business sellying hotdogs. Some business owner has some pull at city hall and is causing this mess. Let this man sell a hotdog. For crying out loud!

    • Rich Castro

      Actually is was Boz hot dogs that was one of the businesses that requested the change in the ordinance, and they have since gone out of business.

  • Rich Castro

    This guy sells his hot dogs all the time, only thing is now he does it in Gary, IN, where their rules are not as strict. The law has been around all year and he has chosen now, weeks before a mayoral election, to start complaining. He hasn’t even talked to the city council about amending the ordinance, he just complains that the mayor is against him even though he has been told to mayor doesn’t make the laws. He should have complained to the council when they changed the ordinance back in March.

  • Micah Griffith - Frank N Ferters Hot Dogs

    ROSKO im in the same boat here in Ohio with you We have another meeting with city council this coming Tuesday to redress the current code that strictly forbids street vending, You may want to ask the council and Law director what the 3 things and only 3 things Council is to take in to concideration when making a city ordinance or code: The Proper Legal response is this: 1) Public Safty, are the citizans at physical risk. 2) Public Health, Are you certified by them. 3) Public Morals, you obviously are not serving food in the nude or yelling obsecene jestures, so having a rule like that is unjust the same as here. City council is not to govern business. but only those 3 issues listed above.

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