When government steps in to try to fix something that isn’t broken, they have a tendency of making things worse…in this case it looks like government wants to break the food trucks of Charlotte.
CHARLOTTE, NC - Charlotte food truck vendors are protesting proposed city regulations that they say would hurt their industry, which has grown increasingly popular in recent years.
One of the possible changes they’re most concerned about is a rule that would prevent food trucks from operating within 100 feet of a restaurant, nightclub or bar – which would make uptown operations a challenge. They also would face tougher restrictions in residential areas.
Some of the rules under consideration are designed to make it easier for the vendors, including new permitting requirements.
“I don’t think they’re intentionally trying to harm food trucks by any stretch of the imagination,” said David Stuck, who co-founded The Tin Kitchen, a food truck and catering company, in 2012. “But I do think they don’t understand what it is we do.”
There are more than 60 food trucks operating in Charlotte, offering everything from cupcakes to fajitas to grilled cheese, and employing hundreds. More than a dozen consistently gather for weekly Food Truck Friday in South End.
The owners say they got involved in a citizen advisory group hoping that their input would help the city understand what food truck operators need to thrive. But a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department draft proposal wasn’t what they expected.
Planning Manager Katrina Young, who’s been leading the citizen advisory meetings, says nothing in the proposed draft is permanent and that it’s meant to open a dialogue.
Many food trucks work with local craft breweries that don’t serve food, which is mutually beneficial. That wouldn’t be allowed under the proposal, but Young said that may need to be re-evaluated.
Also at risk would be bringing food trucks to events such as birthday parties and weddings in residential areas. A number of food trucks, including Stuck’s Tin Kitchen, get nearly half their business from such events.
Operators, fearing that proposed changes could permanently alter their business models, are responding with an online petition posted to the newly formed Charlotte Food Truck Association’s website – www. charlottefoodtrucks.org.