CLEARWATER, FL — Food trucks have become a lively trend in Tampa Bay, attracting hundreds of people each month in Tampa and St. Petersburg. But Clearwater, the second-largest city in Pinellas County and a tourist destination in its own right, seems unlikely to hop on board. That’s because city codes prohibit food trucks, and there’s a lack of interest in changing that.
“I’m not ready to open up Clearwater to food trucks at this time,” said Mayor George Cretekos, citing the increased competition it would pose to established restaurants. “I would like to see our restaurants try to survive in this tough economic time. There’s no business more difficult than the restaurant business.”
In addition, Cretekos and planning director Michael Delk said no one has even approached them about the possibility of bringing food trucks to Clearwater. “I have not had a conversation with anybody,” Cretekos said.
But Michael Blasco, president of Tasting Tampa, which has sponsored many large food truck rallies in the Tampa Bay area, said he tried unsuccessfully to lobby for rallies in Clearwater. Blasco said he called Cretekos’ office a few months ago but was redirected elsewhere.
“I couldn’t get the mayor on the phone, so it never went anywhere,” he said. “I didn’t get the warm-and-fuzzy that we were going to be able to do it.”
City law forbids the selling or peddling of goods from trucks and other vehicles in large sections of Clearwater, including on Cleveland Street. For those areas not included in the ban, vendors need a permit. But Clearwater’s community development code doesn’t establish food trucks as acceptable recipients of permits. Delk said city law might allow for a one-time food truck event, but would need to be amended to allow for weekly or monthly rallies.
Find the entire article by Andy Thomason at tampabay.com <here>
If you would like to contact Mayor Cretekos about his protection of one business model over another and allowing food trucks into Clearwater, you can reach him at: George.Cretekos@myClearwater.com