The Council’s Aviation Committee meets Tuesday to amend an ordinance approved in April that opened up the city’s airports for food trucks. It’s one of two items up for consideration by Chair Mike Zalewski’s (23) committee. Neither concerns the ongoing issue over the blurred roles of Aviation Security Officers and Chicago police officers stationed at O’Hare, despite a recent security audit released by the Department of Aviation (CDA) and a letter of no confidence in the department’s commissioner by the union that represents ASOs. Both the audit and letter were made public last week.
The fee change under consideration today gives the CDA Commissioner the authority to assess a fee of up to $200 a year, “subject to escalation at the the Consumer Price Index for tall Urban Consumers (CP1-U) on any operator of a mobile food vehicle” at O’Hare and Midway Airport.
While the city has found a staging area for food trucks at O’Hare, located at the taxi cab staging area, a location at Midway has not been determined. A representative from the Department of Consumer Affairs and Business Protection told aldermen that Midway was included in the plans, so staging of food trucks would be allowed pending the successful implementation at O’Hare. The representative also noted the food trucks will only serve taxi drivers, not the general public.
The committee approved the original ordinance on the same day they held a highly publicized hearing on proper security protocols at city airports days after a passenger was dragged off a United Airlines flight. That day, the committee conducted regular business in Room 201A before moving to the City Council Chambers for the subject matter hearing with Airports Commissioner Ginger Evans and United Airlines executives.
The original ordinance provides two key exemptions for food trucks at city airports–the city-wide two hour time limit on parking and the restrictions on parking within 200-feet of the entrance to any “principal customer entrance or to a restaurant. Both rules were established in 2012, when the city made it legal for food trucks to do business in the city.
The second item on the Aviation Committee agenda concerns a transfer ownership of concession leases and subleases at Chicago O’Hare and Midway International Airports. Whenever a concessionaire plans to transfer ownership stake in its concession agreement with the city, aldermanic approval is required. This transfer concerns Dufry International AG, one of the companies in the corporate ownership structure of both the Hudson Entities and the Hudson Subtenant Entities. Dufry is seeking to transfer 100% ownership interest in Dufry Americas Holding, Inc. to a newly created company, Hudson LTD.
According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, the lease change is part of a larger initiative to establish “a new, uniform rate structure for aeronautical real estate leases at O’Hare International Airport.” The release notes several cargo and hangar leases are set to expire in May of 2018.