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Legislation

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honolulu food trucks

HONOLULU, HI - The public will have the chance to give input on rules for city permits allowing food trucks to operate in the Hawaii Capital Special District at a meeting on April 24.

The public meeting, being held by the city departments of Transportation Services and Enterprise Services, is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Mission Memorial Hearings Room on South King Street next to Honolulu Hale.

The departments are coming up with rules to allow food truck vendors to bid for an as-yet-unspecified number of food truck permits allowing them to park in designated stalls in the district.

Other food trucks would not be allowed in the district during the two-year pilot program which was triggered by the approval of City Council Bill 1.

A second public hearing and comment period will occur after draft rules are produced.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell allowed the bill to become law without his signature, noting that food trucks did not provide input about the idea until after it was passed. Caldwell said the subsequent comments were largely negative.

Council Chairman Ernie Martin said he introduced the bill to make the process more equitable and provide the city with a small stream of income. Food truck vendors themselves suggested the permitting system, and that such a system not allow trucks without permits in the same vicinity.

Find the entire article at staradvertiser.com <here>

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brentwood tn food truck

BRENTWOOD, TN – As Middle Tennessee’s love for food trucks continues to gain traction, many of these restaurants on wheels are pulling into local offices’ parking lots to peddle their cuisines.

But that mobility in sales can sometimes run afoul of municipal ordinances, codes or regulations.

The Nashville Food Truck Association, a collective group of food truck owners and operators, is staying out of Maryland Farms for now after finding out that these mobile kitchens aren’t allowed to do business in some areas there according to Brentwood zoning rules, said NFTA president Dallas Shaw.

“The food trucks will abide by the request of the city and not park in that zone,” he said.

Shaw, who owns Hoss’ Loaded Burgers, was reminded of these regulations in early April, when his truck was in an area of Maryland Farms that didn’t allow retail sales. Shaw said there was some confusion on the food trucks owners’ part about whether they could set up shop if granted permission by the property owner. But zoning rules trump an invitation by the building owner in this instance, said Brentwood City Manager Kirk Bednar.

“Essentially, there are two types of zoning in Maryland Farms. C-1 is office only, which doesn’t allow for retail sales, and C-2, which is office or retail. We don’t go out looking for them. But if we see them, we do enforce (the rules),” said Bednar.

Brentwood has considered whether to change parts of its ordinance after the issue came up with another food truck selling food in the C-1 zone of Maryland Farms in 2012. The city is still looking into the matter. Until then, the city is enforcing the regulations that are on the books.

“Obviously, we understand it’s a growing business model. But we also have to consider the protection of brick and mortar places that are invested in community and pay taxes,” Bednar said.

Find the entire article at the tennessean.com <here>

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Worcester city hall

WORCESTER, MA - A City Council committee looking to create a more friendly environment for food truck vendors has broached the idea of establishing areas in the city where they would be allowed to conduct business by right.

The focus would be in the downtown, especially around Worcester Common, but it would also include other neighborhoods and parks.

As part of the idea being bandied about by the City Council Economic Development Committee, food truck operators would be required to pay a fee and be permitted by the city for the right to operate in those designated areas.

Councilor-at-Large Frederick C. Rushton, committee chairman, said Tuesday he would like to see the reintroduction of food trucks in the city on a “more populated scale” because they can bring greater economic vitality to an area.

He said current city regulations governing food truck operators make that difficult, in large part because they are required to get the permission from abutters within 50 feet of where they want to set up shop, and from restaurant owners within 250 feet.

“We have to get beyond the mobile food truck (owners) having to knock on doors hoping they’re going to find a friendly zone,” Mr. Rushton said. “Instead, we should move to establish some friendly zones throughout the city (where permission would not be needed).”

Find the entire article at telegram.com <here>

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Battle Creek Downtown

BATTLE CREEK, MI - Battle Creek officials will again discuss proposed downtown ordinance changes related to food trucks after putting the discussion on hold for nearly five months.

A public roundtable meeting on revisions of the city’s vending, downtown business district and special events ordinances will be held Wednesday, April 23. City staff held the first session in late November, during which downtown business owners voiced concerns over unfair competition from food trucks while residents said the mobile vendors could provide additional, much-needed dining options in Battle Creek.

Decades-old regulations prohibit food trucks from operating in the downtown area, the only part of Battle Creek where the mobile vendors are banned.

Officials have since changed the proposed vendors ordinance to allow food trucks downtown near Festival Market Square, the home of the Battle Creek Farmer’s Market and where construction planned for this year would enhance the site as a public gathering space.

Vendors would be prohibited in the downtown business district except “in designated parking space located parallel to Jackson between McCamly Street and Capital Avenue Southwest,” according to the ordinance.

The city said in a news release that the revisions would make the ordinances “more consistent with each other, as well as state law.” Susan Bedsole, interim city manager and community services director, said she hopes the recent change for food trucks is a “win-win situation” for the parties involved.

Find the entire article at battlecreekenquirer.com <here>

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columbus food truck

COLUMBUS, OH - After years of discussion, Columbus has new regulations that will allow vendors to sell a taco, pita or other food from a truck parked on a city street.

The city council approved the food-truck legislation unanimously last night, allowing food trucks to park and conduct business on city streets for the first time. Previously, trucks could park and sell their food only on private property.

About a month ago, food-truck owners were decrying an earlier version of the rules. Now, they’re commending the city.

“They did, for the most part, what we wanted to see, and, overall, they listened to us,” said Brian Reed, president of the Central Ohio Food Truck Association and owner of the Mojo Tago truck.

Find the entire article at dispatch.com <here>

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food-trucks toronto

TORONTO, CANADA - More food trucks will likely soon be on Toronto’s streets following a council vote Thursday night.

In a 34-3 decision, councillors voted in favour of new regulations aimed at loosing restrictions for street food vendors in the city.

Under the new rules, food trucks will be allowed to set up in a pay-and-display parking spot for up to three hours. Trucks can only operate for three hours in a 24-hour period, however, and only two trucks can operate on the same block at the same time.

Additionally, trucks must keep at least 50 metres away from a licensed restaurant that is open and operating. The condition does not apply when a food truck is parked on private property or in one of 58 licensed parking lots, however.

While the new program is not perfect, it’s an improvement, according to one local vendor.

“It’s better than it was,” food truck operator Zane Caplansky said of the new program. “It’s progress, it’s a step forward, and I think it’s something that we can look at as baby steps, but not certainly the victory we wanted.”

The city will issue 125 permits this year to vendors, including the 27 food trucks already operating.

Find the entire article at cp24.com <here>

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indio callifornia

INDIO, CA – Now that the Riverside County Board of Supervisors has given food trucks the green light, the city of Indio is following suit with an ordinance of its own.

The Indio City Council is poised to approve Wednesday an ordinance that modifies regulations for pushcart and mobile food vendors operating within city limits.

Joe Lim, director of development services, said the proposed ordinance would allow vendors to be in one spot for a longer period of time. It would also update regulations addressing environmental and safety concerns, such as littering and trash pick-up.

Some of the details include:

  • Food truck or pushcart vendors cannot operate on public streets within 300 feet of any school between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m on school days. The school principal can override this with his/her written permission.
  • Vendors can only stay in a designated area for one hour and can’t return to that same spot within a four-hour period. To change this, the vendor must receive a permit from the city.
  • Food trucks or pushcarts can’t operate on public streets within 100 feet of an intersection, crosswalk, traffic light or stop sign.

“These changes will compliment and be consistent with the recent changes to the way in which Riverside County inspects and licenses vending vehicles, be consistent with recent court rulings and expand the places in which the mobile food vendors are allowed to conduct business in the city of Indio,” a staff report read.

Find the entire article at desertsun.com <here>

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toronto food trucks on street

TORONTO, CANADA - Council has yet to swallow any changes to the city’s street food rules.

Despite spending several hours debating the licensing committee’s proposal to slice and dice the red tape around Toronto’s food truck industry, councillors failed to wrap up the debate Wednesday.

The debate is expected to continue Thursday but it isn’t clear whether council will be able to digest the changes or end up chewing them up and spitting them out.

Food truck advocates Councillors Josh Colle and Mary-Margaret McMahon predicted it is going to be a close vote.

“It seems we just move at a snail’s pace sometimes,” Colle said after council finished Tuesday night without finishing the food truck debate.

A fight is expected on the council floor around how far away from an existing restaurant a food truck must be before it can serve food. City staff have recommended a 50 metre rule. If approved food trucks would only be able to operate in street parking spots that are at least that far away from the nearest restaurant.

Mayor Rob Ford said Wednesday he was in favour of reducing the restrictions.

“The less red tape the better,” Ford said.

Find the entire article at torontosun.com <here>

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la cocinita food truck

NEW ORLEANS, LA - Food trucks have been all the rage for years in places like Los Angeles, Portland, Austin and even Baton Rouge. When, about four years ago, these trucks serving gourmet grub on paper plates began rolling into New Orleans, they hit a few bumps. And most of those weren’t potholes.

Everyone agreed that the city’s laws governing food trucks were antiquated.

After a legislative tussle between the City Council and the mayor’s office, new food truck laws were passed last July. They went into effect this January.

Local food truck operators see those laws as a vast improvement. And four months later, eaters looking for a quick bite at mid-day or midnight are finding more delicious options. New trucks are about to debut with everything from vegetarian burritos to Toronto-style Italian snacks.

At-large councilwoman Stacey Head took the lead in reforming food truck rules.

“It’s hard to attract national companies to put their headquarters in New Orleans,” Head said. “Building on the indigenous culture and the talents we have in New Orleans, that’s what’s going to keep us strong.”

The first rules the City Council approved — a modified version of the original ordinance sponsored by Head — were vetoed by Mayor Landrieu over constitutional concerns.

The mayor then proposed even more liberal food truck laws, which the City Council went on to pass unanimously.

Find the entire article at nola.com <here>

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lower wacker chicago food trucks

CHICAGO, IL - Food truck operators are crying foul over proposed regulations that would significantly restrict where and when their mobile businesses could operate in the city of Chicago.

The new rules, which go before the full City Council on April 15, were reviewed Monday by the council’s Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development, which heard numerous comments from restaurant owners who fear that the current legislation is putting them out of business. The committee agreed to forward the proposed ordinance to the council without a specific recommendation.

Efforts to establish more clear-cut parking rules for the food truck industry grew in part out of growing tensions between brick-and-mortar restaurants and mobile-food operations, which for years have been minimally regulated by the city of Chicago.

While the trucks are subject to very specific health standards governed by state and local regulations, the current parking restrictions are still causing some restaurant owners indigestion.

As the city’s gourmet food trucks gave grown in numbers and popularity, operators have inevitably clashed with downtown restaurants.

Of greatest concern to the gourmet food trucks are restrictions that would effectively ban their operations in the Loop.

To eliminate the unfair competition food truck owners hold over long time taxpaying restaurants the city council will vote to eliminate all street parking within the downtown except for Lower Wacker.

Senior city planner D.H. Burnham pointed out that no part of what Chicago is proposing should be construed as a ban because exceptions are allowed for private catering and special events.

Among the key regulations that have been proposed:

  • Food trucks would be outlawed in the downtown business district except for Lower Wacker Drive.
  • No food trucks would be allowed within the four blocks adjacent to the Lake Michigan beaches.
  • A prohibition on food trucks within “parking-impacted neighborhoods” surrounding University of Chicago.
  • For food trucks operating on Lower Wacker, hours of operation would be limited to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday through Saturday.
  • Commercial properties who want to host a food truck would be required to obtain a permit costing between $991 to $1535 for each location, a cost that would likely be picked up by the food truck owner.

Councilman Tom Tunney, who chairs the council committee, echoed the concerns of restaurateurs who feel that food trucks are able to come into the downtown without having to pay the high rents that restaurants must pay.

“A lot of (the restaurants) were here first, and I don’t think it’s right to pull right up to another business,” he said.

Efforts to more strictly regulate food trucks have been closely watched by the Institute of Justice, a libertarian watchdog group, which has sued multiple cities over what it sees as anti-competitive regulations.

“What we’ve seen is this knee-jerk reaction by cities to have food trucks on one side and restaurants on the other, and they want this compromise,” Burt Gall of the IJ said in an interview. “These (restrictions) are really just a veiled attempt to restrict competition instead of what they should be doing, which is protecting public safety.”

City Councilman John Arena expressed concern about different treatment for certain areas of the city, which he fears could open up the city to litigation.

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