Peoria City Council Disapproves Food Trucks

Peoria City Council Disapproves Food Trucks

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PEORIA, IL – Short sighted politicians have struck again. This time in Peoria, IL. Last night with a 6-5 vote, the cities City Council disapproved an ordinance which would have allowed food trucks to begin operate in within the city limits.

Peoria-IL

The ordinance, which if approved, would have charged truck operators $3,400 to serve food at approved locations within the Warehouse District, in front of the Peoria Civic Center and along Hamilton Boulevard next to the Peoria County Courthouse. The fee was $1,000 less for truck operators who already own a restaurant.

Outside the Downtown area, the ordinance restricted food trucks from being within 200 feet of existing restaurants. It also established a 500-foot restriction on food trucks from schools, carnivals, festivals and other special events.

While the fees and parking restrictions were way out of balance compared to most municipalities around the country, if it had been approved, it would have allowed mobile food vendors to begin operating.

Those who voted against the ordinance seem to be missing the point of the mobile food industry and this point appears to be proven by a comment made by the Mayor himself. According to Mayor Jim Ardis, “The existing brick and mortar business people have to pay for air conditioning when its 100 degrees out and pay for heat when it’s 10 below. The mobile vendor keeps his truck in the garage.”

Had the mayor really took the time to investigate the issue, he would have realized that when a food truck is parked inside a garage due to inclement weather, the food truck isn’t doing business. But why would that matter? The mayor is too concerned with protecting one business model (brick and mortar restaurants) from another (food trucks). The last time I checked, that wasn’t the role of local government.

If you would like to share your thoughts with the city representatives who voted down this ordinance, you can find their contact information below:

Mayor

Jim Ardis: JArdis@ci.peoria.il.us

Council Members

Gary Sandberg: illeone@aol.com

Bill Spears: wspears@ci.peoria.il.us

Dan Irving: dirving@ci.peoria.il.us

Clyde Gulley: cgulley@ci.peoria.il.us

Eric Turner: weturner@ci.peoria.il.us

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. In any city, small or large, you can find businesses that run out of a truck: There are tool companies like Matco Tools and SnapOn, power washers, window washers, cleaning services, delivery, professional knife sharpening businesses for restaurants and the public, dog washers, and others that like a Food Truck have another location where the truck is parked where they pay real estate taxes, utilities, refuse disposal and other expenses. Food vendors have been in this country since the beginning development of urban areas.

    Food trucks are not a new concept, but they have evolved to produce specialty foods that fill a niche that other food establishments don’t meet. Gourmet and specialty ethnic items can be found around the United States by mobile food vendors offering both a unique product and a convenience not met by existing brick and mortar restaurants.

    In our central Illinois town of Champaign, Mas Amigos has not only an authentic Mexican street food truck, but also a mobile mini-store truck that serves less mobile consumers such as those living in trailer parks around town.

    The Crave Truck offers made-from-scratch Belgian Liege waffles. No other brick and mortar restaurant in our community offers our specialty item.

    Tuesday June 26th our Champaign City Council will hold a special Study Session to discuss reforming the city’s out-dated peddler ordinances. We invite EVERYONE who supports the Mobile Food Industry to join us.

    No doubt Mayor Jim Ardis of Peoria understands that “garages” where food trucks are stored undoubtedly have real estate taxes levied upon them just like any other building.

    Just like any other building, there are ALWAYS utility costs like the electrical power that switches from the gas fueled generator of a food truck to a power cord connected to the building. This electrical power keeps the food truck’s refrigeration running and COLD so that the truck is in compliance with Illinois State Sanitation codes just like a brick and mortar restaurant. The electricity also keeps the truck warm in colder months when heaters are put on the truck to keep plumbing lines from freezing.

    Speaking of plumbing, food trucks like the Crave Truck are filled with water each day to provide their hot water heaters the liquid needed for washing hands in the hand-sink, washing and sanitizing dishes in the 3-compartment double 36”-drainboard-sinks, and mopping floors with water from the mop-sink.

    And like any commercial kitchen, cooking and serving food to the public generates refuse which must be hauled away on garbage day from the “garage” like any other restaurant.
    As to the argument of unfair advantage by not paying for “air-conditioning?” Restaurants pay more to provide the service of a comfortable environment with tables and chairs for the enjoyment of their diners. For example, a tasty waffle with fresh strawberries at our favorite local pancake house costs around $12. That is for a traditional Brussels waffle which has the food cost of flour, water, eggs, butter and fresh strawberries vs a Liege waffle from the Crave Truck which has the food cost of flour, milk, butter, eggs, imported Belgian pearl sugar, real vanilla, powdered sugar, fresh strawberries, and disposable paper for less than $5.

    In addition, margins on food costs are based on volume, given the 16’x7’ commercial kitchen space of the Crave Truck vs the local pancake house with a large kitchen, more than likely the Crave Truck pays more for its ingredients. Air-conditioning cost vs gasoline fuel cost… ?

    • For a protest like that to work, there would need to be more than a lack of dining at restaurants. Sure it would hurt the local restaurants for that weekend, but I doubt they would report their losses to the media.

      A barrage of emails or phone calls can turn a politician’s mind on a subject rather quickly, unless of course, said politician is already receiving political contributions from the individual restaurant owners or the local restaurant association.

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