CHARLOTTE, NC - More than 60 people, including nearly 20 food truck owners and an attorney with the Institute for Justice in Arlington, Va., met Tuesday night with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Department to argue against controversial proposed changes to food truck regulations.
Food truck owners complained that the proposed regulations would negatively affect their operations and bottom lines. They have launched a petition that now has several thousand signatures.
More than 60 food trucks operate in Charlotte, offering everything from cupcakes to fajitas to grilled cheese, and employing hundreds. More than a dozen gather for the weekly Food Truck Friday in South End and draw crowds of up to 3,000 people.
One of the food truck owners’ biggest concerns is a proposed rule that would prevent food trucks from operating within 100 feet of a restaurant, nightclub or bar.
The planning department announced Tuesday that it had decreased the distance to 50 feet.
But David Stuck, co-founder of The Tin Kitchen, a food truck and catering company, said even that would make it difficult to serve many of their regular clientele, such as local craft breweries that don’t serve food.
That wouldn’t be allowed under the proposed regulations because of the 50-foot requirement. Food Truck Friday, which is held on an empty lot across from Phat Burrito on Camden Road, also would be prohibited.
Food truck owners also are opposed to the proposed permitting regulations. Owners now need a permit for every location, and it expires after 90 days. The proposal would allow a vendor to have a one-year permit for up to three locations.
But food truck operators said they’d like to have one permit that would allow them to set up throughout the city.