ATHENS, GA – Commissioners could vote at their 7 p.m. meeting to allow food trucks to operate on limited sections of two downtown streets from 7 a.m. Thursdays until 2:30 a.m. Fridays. Food trucks can now operate on private property, but only operate on public property in connection with special events such as the Sunday Center Market at The Classic Center in downtown Athens and the recent Downtown Athens Food Truck Festival.
A recommendation from the commission’s Government Operations Committee, assigned in May by Mayor Nancy Denson to look into the food truck issue, calls for reserving space on the north side of East Washington Street between College Avenue and Lumpkin Street, and on the west side of College Avenue between East Hancock and East Washington Street — essentially the south and east sides of the City Hall campus — for food trucks on Thursdays and early Friday.
The ordinance does, though, provide an option for the county manager’s office to designate other public areas for food truck operations, during hours that those areas are open to the public. Commissioner Andy Herod, chairman of the Government Operations Committee, indicated during discussions of the food truck issue that he’d like to see areas other than downtown Athens — public parks and even the Athens Transit park-and-ride lot on Lexington Road — opened up at least occasionally to food trucks.
The ordinance proposal goes as far as including a lengthy notation of the county government’s intent in establishing a downtown area for regular food truck operations, noting “mobile food vendors in those areas will provide a service to the public seeking additional wholesome food and beverage options.”