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City Council

yuma city council

YUMA, AZ – The wheels of government are turning slowly as the city of Yuma seeks to find a happy middle ground to allowing food trucks to operate in the city.

That’s likely an impossible task. Yuma City Council members remained divided after a 1 1/2-hour discussion during Tuesday’s work session and another lengthy discussion at Wednesday’s meeting as they acted section by section on proposed revisions to the draft ordinance prepared by staff in an effort to address everyone’s concerns.

The proposed changes include requiring a minimum of 150 feet between a food vendor and the entrance to a brick-and-mortar restaurant; allowing food vendors to use generators but set the noise level at 55 decibels at a distance of 10 feet; and adding an interim category of food vendor for those who occupy a property as a primary user where an existing building is vacant.

But the one proposed change that drew the most discord would allow primary and interim users to leave their truck on the site, rather than having to remove it every night and set up again the next day.

Councilman Gary Knight took exception to that change, saying it takes away the council’s efforts to have a level playing field between mobile food vendors and brick-and-mortar restaurants.

“I liked the ordinance fine before,” he said. “If we make it a permanent restaurant on wheels, how about landscaping? We’re trying to make it like a restaurant, but it’s not.”

Brant Gordon, managing partner for Julieanna’s Patio Cafe, was the only representative of a brick-and-mortar restaurant to speak to the council. He said that local restaurants that provide hundreds of jobs are struggling with the weak economy while facing rising costs of doing business. He also noted that they were hurt by the opening of several chain restaurants at Yuma Palms Regional Center and the number of fast food restaurants in the community.

“Now there’s the potential food vendor ordinance I feel is unenforceable.”

He was asked by Councilman Edward Thomas if he was in favor of competition. Thomas then went on to reiterate that he believes allowing food vendors in the city would encourage new business and provide consumers with a choice about what and where they want to eat.

Find the entire article at yumasun.com <here>

NOLA food trucksNEW ORLEANS, LA – The great City Hall food fight over food trucks could end at Thursday’s meeting of the New Orleans City Council. Then again, it might not.

The council is scheduled to vote on an ordinance proposed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration to replace one that the council passed in April but the mayor then vetoed. Debate is expected to start around 1 p.m.

The vetoed ordinance, sponsored by Councilwoman Stacy Head, would have loosened the city’s current extremely restrictive regulations for food trucks. Landrieu said he vetoed it because it was still too restrictive — specifically that it would have created a 200-foot “buffer zone” around brick-and-mortar restaurants where food trucks could not operate. The current law, in effect for many decades, provides for a 600-foot protected zone.

Head said she thought such proximity restrictions, designed to protect certain businesses against competition from other businesses, are unconstitutional, but she agreed to accept the 200-foot restricted zone and several other provisions she did not like as the price of winning enough votes to get her ordinance passed. The administration’s proposal removes most of those restrictions, such as many geographical limitations and a requirement that operators have guaranteed access to a nearby public restroom.

At a council committee meeting Wednesday, debate focused almost entirely on the absence of a buffer-zone provision in the proposed law, with Councilwomen Jackie Clarkson and Susan Guidry making clear they still want such a requirement to help protect fixed-location restaurants they said are one of the glories of New Orleans’ culture and vital to its economy.

In response, Eric Granderson, a former interim council member and now a top aide to Landrieu, indicated that the mayor is likely to veto any ordinance that contains a buffer zone. The city attorney’s office has said it thinks such a provision could not withstand a legal challenge.

The new ordinance would:

  • Authorize 100 permits for food trucks alone. At present, 100 permits are authorized for all types of mobile food vendors, including fruit and vegetable sellers, seafood peddlers and others.
  • In return for a $400 annual permit, food trucks would be allowed automatically to operate on the streets in most areas of the city zoned for commercial, industrial or mixed use.
  • The trucks would be able to operate at any one location for a maximum of four hours.
  • They would be prohibited in the French Quarter because the streets there are too narrow and congested to accommodate them.
  • The amount of the franchise fees would be recommended by the Department of Public Works, which must also certify that the proposed location would not interfere with traffic. The fees must then be approved by the council, which would be able to impose further restrictions. The fees would be capped at $28,200 a year.
  • Operators must have $500,000 in liability insurance, must comply with all city and state health laws, must pay sales tax and must clean up all debris within a 50-foot radius each day. They cannot sell alcohol and their trucks cannot be more than 26 feet long or 8 feet wide.

Find the entire article by Bruce Eggler at NOLA.com  <here>

hooters girl
While this uniform is alright for Hooter’s, it might not be for food truck employees.

DALLAS, TX – Hypocrisy has entered the discussion between politicians relating to food trucks again. This time, it has happened within the city council chamber in Dallas. This story comes from SideDish at Dmagazine.com

The Dallas City Council’s Quality of Life Committee met on Monday about potentially lowering the costs of streetscape licensing and street vending permits in downtown Dallas.

The proposal is to cut vending licenses by half to $600 annually. Right now, food trucks are allowed to operate between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily, but the proposed update would extend those hours to 10 p.m. (Mon-Thursday, Sunday) and midnight (Friday and Saturday). There’s also a suggestion to require photo ID badges for all vendors, prohibit smoking by vendors while operating in the vending locations, and to establish a dress code.

Everything looks good until they delve into a dress code.

Appendix B: Proposed Dress Code

Proposed minimum dress requirements for vendors include the following

  • Clothing must be neat, clean and sanitary at all times
  • Walking shorts allowed, but no cut-offs ? No apparel with offensive or suggestive language,images, symbols
  • No tank tops or halter tops
  • No outer apparel made of fishnet or undergarment material

Funny thing about required clothing for food truck is that there is no similar code for restaurant employees. Got Hooters?

Find the entire article by Carol Shih at sidedish.dmagazine.com <here>

BIRMINGHAM, AL – Birmingham’s street food scene is still young, but it’s already cooked up some creative meals.Fresh Off the Bun vends Vietnamese Tacos, while Spoonfed Grill serves quesadillas, goat cheese and cranberry lime turkey burgers. Then there’s Shindigs Catering which offers very upscale lunch fare like “seared quail with grits,” sweet potato buns and burgers with “humanely raised” beef. Too bad Birmingham bureaucrats are trying to crack down on food trucks.

birmingham food trucks
Image from ij.com

The city council is currently debating a newly proposed 17-pageordinance to regulate food trucks. A vote is expected on December 11. Recently revised, this new ordinance came about after complaints from some owners of brick-and-mortar restaurants. Yet the proposed ordinance is so onerous, a few food truck owners are even threatening to quit vending altogether. Take Mac Russell, co-owner of the Shindigs Catering Truck: “If this goes through, there is no way I’m going with this. I will go a different direction in business other than try to keep up with all the stuff they are trying to get us to do.” Using the power of the state is one way to muscle out the competition.

For starters, the revised ordinance would ban food trucks from selling within 230-foot of an open brick-and-mortar restaurant. Street food vendors could stay no more than two hours in one location, while “suggested hours are 7 to 9 a.m. for breakfast, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch, and 4 to 6 p.m. for dinner.”

Find the entire article by Nick Sibilla at the Institute of Justice <here>


BIRMINGHAM, AL – The Birmingham City Council moved a little closer today toward approving a proposed food-truck ordinance that has been idling since September.

birmingham food truck spoonfed grill
The Spoonfed Grill food truck is often parked along Fifth Avenue North downtown. (Tamika Moore/al.com)

At a council work session this afternoon, six councilors went over a 16-page proposal that, among other things, would help establish the hours and locations where mobile food vendors could park their trucks and carts and would determine how much those vendors would pay in annual fees.

As proposed, the ordinance would:

  • Establish a Mobile Food Vendors Committee to approve applications for food truck permits and regulate designated food zones throughout the city.
  • Require prospective mobile vendors to pay a $200 non-refundable application fee, plus a $300 annual fee to operate within the city limits or $500 to operate within the downtown City Center.
  • Limit hours of operation for food trucks and carts to no more than two hours at a time at any location. Suggested hours are 7 to 9 a.m. for breakfast, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for lunch, and 4 to 6 p.m. for dinner. Late-night hours would be determined on a case-by-case basis.
  • Restrict food trucks and push carts from doing business within 230 feet of any existing restaurant during that restaurant’s regular business hours.

Click on the link to read the entire article about Birmingham getting closer to allowing food trucks by Bob Carlton at al.com.


DURHAM, NC – Durham city leaders could adopt new rules for popular food trucks today.

durham food truck rodeo

The city council meets tonight at 7 p.m. to decide on the new rules.

The current proposal would limit where food trucks can set up shop keeping at least 50 feet between themselves and the main entrance or outdoor dining area of any restaurant.

Planners also considered proposing a buffer for the Durham Farmers’ Market and other “special events,” but dropped that idea after it drew complaints at a July public hearing.

If the new rules pass, food truck vendors will also have to register their vehicles with the planning department and pay a $10 fee.


Chicago, IL – A City Council committee today signed off on 21 locations where food trucks will be able to park on a regular basis, but two others didn’t make the cut.

chicago food truck stands


The ordinance making food trucks legal requires that at least 30 “food truck stands” be set up across Chicago, but it’s expected there will be far more in the end, said sponsoring Ald. Brendan Reilly, 42nd.

One of the rejected locations is on Broadway south of Wellington Avenue. The East Lakeview Chamber of Commerce opposed, saying the location would allow food truck vendors with lower overhead costs to unfairly compete with 20 restaurants that spend at least $150,000 a year to maintain their storefronts.

As a result, that location was removed, said Ald. Thomas Tunney, 44th. The alderman said the request came from a local coffee shop owner who thought food trucks would bring in more business, but the business turned out to be the only local bricks-and-mortar food operation in favor of the stand, Tunney said.

“The businesses just don’t feel that this is the right thing to do for them when they are trying to make a dime,” Maureen Martino, executive director of the East Lakeview Chamber, told members of the License and Consumer Protection Committee that endorsed the 21 locations.

“There’s really no parking at all” in the area, she added. “And there is really not a need for more food.”

Once again, Alderman Tunney shows his true colors along with a local restaurant lobby. Since when is it up to these individuals to determine what areas of the city need or don’t need more food options for consumers?

Find the entire article by Hal Dardick at The Chicago Tribune <here>


NEW ORLEANS, LA – Food truck operators in New Orleans had their first face-to-face meeting with City Council members Tuesday in their yearlong effort to persuade them to ease regulations for mobile vendors. The city’s licensing covers the gourmet food trucks that have popped up since Hurricane Katrina as well as vendors who sell anything from produce to snowballs.

nola white food truck

The regulations, more than a half-century old, have been updated sparingly over the years, and food-truck operators and city officials agree that as the industry has changed, the restrictions have become outdated.

Mobile vendors want to see the number of permits issued annually rise; the time a truck can stay in one spot extended; and the allowed hours of operation expanded.

No one expressed opposition Tuesday to the general idea of loosening the rules. Instead, much of the talk focused on how the city could give the burgeoning industry a boost.

“This is a great opportunity for restaurants to go cluster into areas that are underserved by restaurants in the traditional sense,” said the city council president, Stacy Head. “It’s something that I think highlights what an entrepreneurial city we are.”

The city issues up to 100 mobile food vending permits annually, and those who already have permits get first dibs, making it difficult for newcomers to break in to the food truck business. Head agrees with the vendors that the number could be higher, but she believes a cap should still be in place.

Since operators need to have their food truck up-to-code before they can be issued a permit, the cap means that operators are forced to invest in the truck without knowing for sure whether they’ll be allowed to operate in New Orleans.

“There’s no guarantee from the city you’ll get a permit once you get there,” said Andrew Legrand, a Metairie lawyer who has been helping food truck operator Rachel Billow to establish an umbrella nonprofit to represent mobile vendors. “There’s no guarantee that you can actually operate the business.”

Billow, who operates a food truck called La Cocinita, said starting a mobile operation costs about $40,000, compared to a $250,000 price tag for opening a restaurant.

“It’s a very accessible industry, and it’s a very good entry point into the culinary business for people who don’t have that startup capital,” she said.

Find the entire article by Richard Thompson at nola.com <here>


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