AURORA, CO – Ami Crowe and her family sat at a bistro table on the sidewalk outside the Aurora Municipal building with sandwiches and pot stickers purchased from food trucks lined up in the parking lot. They were joined by hundreds of people.
“We were just driving by, and I saw the trucks and I recognized some of them from (around town),” Crowe, 38, said. “It’s perfect — close to our house and close to the library for (my daughter). It’s a great idea.”
Until last month, food trucks registered in Aurora were not allowed on city property or within 1,500 feet of one another. That left many mobile restaurants isolated in shopping center parking lots or constantly roaming.
The outdated policy even outlawed all dessert trucks until a new ordinance — to be tested as a pilot program — as internally suggested to city council in June.
Tod Kuntzelman, the city’s permit center manager, said revisiting the ordinance could offer more eating options to city workers and residents alike.
Likewise, Gary Sandel, Aurora development project manager, said loosening restrictions on food trucks could be an economic boost.
“It is our hope that the pilot program will serve to attract additional foot traffic to our commercial districts,” Sandal said. “(They may) provide convenient food choices for visitors to places such as the Aurora Fox Arts Center and brewery tap rooms that do not serve their own food.”
The yearlong program began in September and allows food trucks to come out of the parking lots and congregate with one another for mobile food hubs in different areas around the city. After a couple months of debate with local restaurant owners, the program was approved by council.
Discussion over the pilot program began when local restaurant owners heard that city staff proposed setbacks of 100 feet from businesses and residential property lines. Many thought that was too close to their stores, and competition would disrupt business.
Sonia Riggs, chief operating officer of the Colorado Restaurant Association addressed city council multiple times, urging for setback to be increased to 300 feet from restaurants.
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