Baton Rouge Food Truck

BATON ROUGE, LA – The Metro Council rejected a proposed ordinance Wednesday that would have imposed new requirements on food truck vendors, including that they have written permission from the owners of any parking lots where they set up business.

In an unrelated move, the council deferred until April 25 a decision on whether to fund a $200,000 contract with Washington, D.C., lobbying firm Patton Boggs.

The food truck ordinance was proposed by Rodney “Smokie” Bourgeois, who said he was trying to protect business owners from lawsuits.

“All this will do is possibly keep the person who owns the property and the business from losing everything they own,” said Bourgeois, who owns three restaurants in Baton Rouge.

The ordinance also would have prohibited food trucks from blocking roadways and requiring customers to stand adjacent to roads to purchase food.

Several speakers criticized the proposed legislation.

“The regulations proposed by Smokie Bourgeois seem to be regulations for the sake of regulations,” said Nick Hufft, a spokesman for the Baton Rouge Mobile Food Vendors Association.

“We understand that there need to be laws put in place,” he said. “What we aren’t for is redundant, unnecessary laws.”

Hufft said after the meeting that he has operated his food truck in Baton Rouge for five years and never parked in a parking lot without permission.

Steven Edwards, who operates Geaux-Yo Frozen Yogurt, said food truck vendors should be given an opportunity to have input into regulations affecting them.

“Give us some time to fashion some sort of regulations that make sense,” he said.

Randy Wesley, who owns the Pastime Lounge, said he had no problems with food trucks, except when they park adjacent to his business.

“These entrepreneurs are all fellow restaurateurs,” he said. “I have no problem except some of the tactics they have used on me in the past.”

Those tactics, he said, included parking directly between his restaurant and a popular haunted house attraction.

“They are actually taking disposable income from a brick and mortar restaurant,” he said.

Councilman Trae Welch said any city that has food trucks has food truck regulations.

Find the entire article by Faimon A. Roberts III at The Advocate <here>