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Fees

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Japadog Vancouver food cartVANCOUVER, CANADA - Some food cart owners are upset with the City of Vancouver, saying they are being ripped off for food cart permits when new entrants are paying just a fraction of their rent.

Many operators have been forced to close up shop on their food carts after paying up to $10,000 annually. The operators have been subletting prime spots all over the city, long before the city’s food cart program with its lower rents came into effect.

A city food cart permit today costs just $1,000 a year under the city’s new program.

Disgruntled food truck owners have been petitioning the city for changes to the system for months, and now it appears the city is finally listening.

Deputy City Manager Sadhu Johnston tells Global News that the city is planning a new bylaw to address the subletting of vendor leases.

“In November, staff plan to bring forward a new bylaw to City Council to address the issue of subletting vendor leases. City staff will be recommending to City Council that no subleasing be allowed for food cart permits and that a transition plan be developed for the vendors that are currently working on subleased locations. The City is working to find a balanced approach which ends the practice of subleasing but minimizes the impact on existing vendors whose businesses rely on subleased sites. The transition strategy will be developed with input from vendors over the coming weeks.”

Find the entire article by Peter Meiszner  at globalnews.ca <here>

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noblesville city hallNOBLESVILLE, IN - Noblesville isn’t exactly rolling out the welcome mat for food trucks.

A divided Common Council approved changes in zoning law Tuesday that allow mobile food vendors to operate year-round in the city—with several restrictions and a fee that all but guarantees few will bother to make the trip.

Saying the proposed $200 annual permit fee was too low, Councilor Rick Taylor offered up an amendment increasing it to $1,000. The modification—and zoning measure—passed by a 4-3 vote after spirited discussion.

The debate was a familiar one: whether permitting mobile vendors puts taxpaying bricks-and-mortar establishments at risk.

“Do we want to encourage food trucks to come in … and potentially put one of these [restaurants] out of business?” asked council President Roy Johnson. He voted with Taylor, Mark Boice and Jeff Zeckel to hike the fee, saying it gives vendors a “vested interest” in the community.

Council member Stephen Wood said patrons, not politicians, should decide the fate of businesses. Colleagues Gregory O’Connor and Brian Ayer joined him in the minority.

“It’s good competition,” Wood said of food trucks. “And if they come and are successful here, they may open businesses here.”

That entrepreneurial element was among the points city Planning Director Christy Langley made in presenting the recommended zoning changes to the council.

“Food trucks can literally be an incubator” for bricks-and-mortar restaurants, she said.

Find the entire article by Andrea Muirragui Davis at ibj.com <here>

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Chapel Hill Food TruckCHAPEL HILL, NC - The Town Council approved several changes to its food truck ordinance on Monday, one of which lowers to regulatory fee for vendors from $600 to $200.

The council made the changes in response to complaints by food truck operators who complained the cost of doing business in Chapel Hill was too high.

Since the town updated the ordinance in January 2012, it has only issued two food truck ordinances – two permits were actually issued to a single vendor, Baguettaboutit – in large part because of the hefty $600 annual fee required to operate in Chapel Hill.

In an interview after the council’s vote, Tracy Livers, who operates Olde North State BBQ, said the new fees will make Chapel Hill more accessible to food truck operators.

“The fee was a choking point for us,” Livers said.

She said Olde North State BBQ will now apply to do business in Chapel Hill as soon as the process allows. The reduced fee will go on the books in July.

Fees to operate food trucks in other Triangle cities such as Durham and Raleigh were significantly lower than the fee Chapel Hill charged.

Find the entire article by Gregory Childress at the heraldsun.com <here>

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Buffalo Food Truck BillBUFFALO, NY  - Food trucks are fast becoming a convenient alternative to brick and mortar restaurants but a fight over fees threatened to put the brakes on the growing industry.

The Buffalo Common Council had to do something, because the city’s food truck regulations were about to expire April 1. Truck owners wanted lower fees and less red tape and they got at least some of what they asked for.

The Council approved a new set of regulations for food trucks Tuesday afternoon, cutting license renewal fees in half from $1,000 to $500. New food trucks still have to pay the $1,000 fee the very first time they apply for a license.

Niagara District Councilman David Rivera said, “I think we need to put the welcome mat out. We have to create a business climate where people want to come to Buffalo.”

Fillmore District Councilman David Franczyk added, “Once the public safety criterion has is met – which is mandatory, absolutely mandatory – then we don’t want to put restraints on this kind of entrepreneurship.”

All food trucks are held to the same sanitation and health standards as restaurants. They are inspected every year by the Erie County Health Department, must follow guidelines for food preparation and handling of uncooked or raw products, and are required to have trash cans available for their customers.

The regulations approved Tuesday still require food trucks to stay at least 100 feet away from any open restaurant kitchen. Outside of those boundaries, they are free to move between locations whenever and wherever the operators wish.

At the Common Council hearing, several restaurant owners spoke in support of their food truck counterparts.

“I would be very happy if more trucks were parked near my restaurant in the University Heights area,” Greg Kemp, the owner of Amy’s Place on Main Street, said. “I think it would be great for all the local businesses, including non-restaurants… you know, Talking Leaves [Bookstore, etc.]. People would walk around more.”

Find the entire article by Rachel Kingston at WIVB.com <here>

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Red Hook Lobster PoundWASHINGTON DC - According to Jessica Sidman at the City Paper, DC is proposing new regulations to curb the presence of food trucks downtown.  As one so often sees with protectionist measures, people are suggesting that this is really for the good of the food trucks–after all, they’ll be able to enter a lottery for a handful of prime spots in each location, at the low-low price of only $150 to $400 a month.  As always, such protestations are ludicrous.  It’s hard to run a business on the premise that many months, you will have a chance to sell your wares in a good spot, while in other months, you’re out of luck and will have to vend in low-density areas where there aren’t enough buyers to cover your cost.  The new system will drive some trucks out of business, and drive up the costs of others.  Who benefits?  Incumbent restauranteurs who are paying high rents for their prime location, and don’t like the low-cost competition.

D.C. Food Truck Association chairman and Red Hook Lobster Pound co-owner Doug Povich says trucks could end up winning proposed locations with little weekday lunch traffic like Navy Yard, Historic Anacostia, Minnesota or Benning avenues NE, and Friendship Heights. Because they’ve spent $150 for the spot, they’ll likely go the first time. But if they’re losing money there, they may not want to come back the following weeks, Povich says. The result would be empty parking spots that nobody else could use for four hours.

Povich believes only five areas—Farragut Square, L’Enfant Plaza, Franklin Square, Metro Center, and Union Station—have enough traffic and congestion to warrant a zone, not 23. He says his trucks do half the business in a lower-traffic location like Friendship Heights or Navy Yard as they do downtown. Trucks that don’t have Red Hook’s 25,000 Twitter followers might do as little as 5 to 10 percent, Povich estimates.

Restricting vehicles to certain spots goes against the mobile spirit of food trucks, Whitfield says. When she has cupcakes left at the end of the day, she asks her Twitter followers where Cubside Cupcakes should go next. “That’s dead,” Whitfield says. “Responding to customer requests is dead if these regulations go through.”

And then there’s the possibility that food trucks may not get a spot in a mobile vending zone at all. In that case, finding a location to vend in the central business district could be tough. Last fall, the D.C. Food Truck Association measured sidewalks throughout the area and found that eight of the 10 most popular vending locations had fewer than 10 feet of unobstructed sidewalk, which would make them off-limits under the proposed rules.

Find the entire article by Megan McArdle at The Daily Beast <here>

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lloyd taco truckBUFFALO, NY - It wasn’t long ago when food trucks began to show up around Western New York.  But if the City of Buffalo’s high fees continue, several of them say they could go out of business.

Several owners are upset over the high permit fees they have to pay to be able to operate in Buffalo.  Owners met with the city’s legislation committee Tuesday to voice their opinion that paying $1,000 for city approval, and then another $1,000 to get the same license renewed each year is exhorbitant.

“It feels like they are taking advantage of us.  And, as a result of these fees, some one my colleagues have been put out of business.  They have sold their businesses, or are calling it quits.  It’s cumbersome enough to start a business in New York State, we don’t need the city making it harder for us,” said Peter Cimino with Lloyd Taco Truck.

No decision has been made.  But some of the city legislators we spoke with said they would be open to lowering the fee.

Find the original story by wgrz.com <here>

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Indy Food Truck AllianceFISHERS, IN - Food trucks have become a regular part of the Indianapolis daily menu.

But you won’t see any on the streets of Fishers and that’s because many food truck operators say a daily permit just costs too much, with a fee in the $300 range.

“We get a quite a few requests to come up here and, unfortunately, it’s a situation where it doesn’t economically make sense for us to come in now,” said Matt Kornmeyer with the Indy Food Truck Alliance, which represents 15 food trucks.

An ordinance before the Fishers Town Council, though, could make food trucks a regular presence in Fishers.

“We have a strong fan base here,” said Kornmeyer of the people who live and work in Fishers who follow his group’s food trucks.

That fan base will just have to wait a bit longer before finding out if food trucks will be part of the Fishers menu.

Monday night, the Fishers Town Council put off a vote that dealt with bringing food trucks into town. The proposal has already dished up concern for some restaurants like La Fuente Mexican Grill and Cantina.

“I need more customers and maybe customers stop by and in the truck and don’t come in for a bite here and eat here in the restaurant,” said restaurant manager Gustavo Contreras.

Under the proposal, food trucks would pay a $200 yearly fee and could set up shop in public parking areas and sell their food.

For the same privileges at concerts or sporting events, food truck owners would have to agree to pay a certain percentage of their profits back to the town.

“This is crazy. These guys pay $200 and I can pay here, a lot, a lot of money,” added Contreras of all the extra fees a restaurant must pay that a food truck doesn’t.

“I think it would hurt business and I think it would make businesses think twice about putting in a restaurant,” said Fishers Town Councilman Scott Faultless.

Find the entire article by Emily Longnecker at wthr.com <here>

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TRAVERSE CITY, MI — The Downtown Development Authority will revisit policies and fees for food trucks by seeking public input.

Roaming Harvest Traverse City food truck

The DDA board decided Friday to schedule a study session for Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Governmental Center, an opportunity for downtown restaurateurs and other businesses to give their opinions.

In 2012, the Traverse City Commission asked the DDA for input on how to handle transient food vendors, and the DDA came back with a recommendation that included raising the fee charged in peak season from $50 to $100 daily. The city planned to impose the hike on all food trucks within the city, but the DDA had only intended to address food trucks in the downtown district.

At that point, fees were rolled back to $50 daily outside of downtown in high season.

“I think they came back with the scenario that was probably, in their opinion, isolated to the downtown,” said Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes. “The city commission didn’t necessarily read it that way. We thought it was a good business decision for the community. Now we’re in this limbo phase.”

Subcommittees of the DDA and city commission have been meeting to discuss the fees and rules governing location and regulations. DDA Executive Director Bryan Crough said the study session would be a good way to hear from downtown restaurants. Until now, Crough said, there hasn’t been a vocal response one way or another from them. But “our assumption is, the few we’ve talked to are very nervous about it,” he said.

It’s one thing for a food truck to set up near Northwestern Michigan College or Munson Medical Center, where there is not a concentration of restaurants, Estes said. At the same time, he’d like to see one unified program governing food trucks city-wide.

Find the entire article by Kathy Gibbons at the Record Eagle <here>

 

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CHAPEL HILL, NC - “We seem to have over-regulated.”

Those were the words of Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, and the general consensus of the Chapel Hill Town Council on Monday, as the council reviewed the impact of new rules governing food trucks in town.

Baguettaboutit-Truck

In January the council approved an ordinance designed to encourage food trucks to set up shop while at the same time protecting established restaurants. But since that time, only one vendor has paid the licensing and permitting fees to operate in Chapel Hill, and that, as council member Lee Storrow pointed out, has been a labor of love.

“The Baguetteaboutit truck, who is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and the owners live in the town of Chapel Hill, really wanted to be able to provide their food and their service to their friends and their family who live in Chapel Hill,” said Storrow. “And they told me it didn’t really make economic sense to apply in Chapel Hill, but they did it because they wanted to bring their service to the community they live in.”

Brian Bottger, owner of the Durham-based Only Burger food truck and restaurant, told the council the high fees have kept him from expanding to Chapel Hill.

“The first thing that comes to mind as I try to do events in Chapel Hill is that the vendor fee is expensive. It is $600-plus dollars, and that is prohibitive, up front, as a cost,” said Bottger.

A vendor seeking to do bring a food truck to Chapel Hill must pay $600 to apply for a permit and the property owner for the lot where the truck will park must also get a zoning compliance permit, at a cost of $118. Once both are approved by town staff, the vendor pays an additional $25 for a business license.

There have been several successful celebrations in Chapel Hill in the past year that featured food trucks, but in each instance the trucks were granted special event permits valid only for the duration of the event.

Find the entire article at chapelboro.com <here>

 

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TRAVERSE CITY, MI - Traverse City is a foodie town.  You can find locally-sourced meals and treats everywhere.  So some people were surprised when the city commission doubled the cost for street vendors to do business in town.

Roaming Harvest

Now, the issue is back before the commission.

Roaming Harvest started rolling just as the commission decided to double fees for street vendors to do business.  The converted delivery truck operates at different locations around Traverse City, four days a week and at local events.

On Wednesdays, you can find Roaming Harvest across the street from the Munson Emergency Room on Elmwood and Seventh.

Simon Joseph and his wife, Rebecca, decided to try something new – and contribute to Traverse City’s reputation as a “foodie” town.  After two years of planning, they rolled onto the city streets.

The Cost To Do Business In Traverse City
“We’ve been open for a month and a half, and we paid the city of Traverse City 750 dollars to operate.”  Joseph continues, “This is on top of a lease we have on Cass Street—that is not in the city limit.”

If the Commission decision stands, Roaming Harvest’s fees will double, to 100 dollars a day, beginning September 15.  Joseph says they took the daily fee structure into account when they made their business plan.

“At 50 dollars a day, it was a stepping stone to have this conversation.  At 100 a day, I mean that’s almost forbidding me from coming downtown,” Joseph explains.  “I mean realistically.  We’re a food truck that can carry only so much food.  In order for us to do enough business to pay that, it seems a bit of a stretch.”

Find the entire article by Candice Ludlow at ipr.interlochen.org <here>

 

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