food trucks plunder businessBATTLE CREEK, MI – Discussions about changing city ordinances to allow food trucks downtown have generated opposition among some Michigan Avenue business owners.

“Any business, whether you sell dresses or sandwiches or anything else, to support a fixed structure in aging buildings is a huge challenge,” said Eric Kitchen, who runs the Schlotszky’s Deli at 14 W. Michigan Ave.

“So for the city commissioners to consider allowing these fly-by-night, cherry-picking kind of operations to show up, it will turn out to be a decision not only for the business owners, property owners — but it’ll turn out to be a bad decision for the city.”

A letter, signed by area business owners, was sent to city commissioners Thursday in response to the city of Battle Creek’s early efforts to allow food vendors within its central business district before the end of this year. It would require changes to four ordinances because of zoning and special event changes.

The concerns leveled by the letter are as follow:

1. The current restaurant density in the CBD provides more seats than customers.

2. Food trucks have little, if any, investment in the community and do not provide a stable tax base for the city. Every dollar in revenue extracted by the food trucks comes out of the pockets of stable and permanent members of the community. Short term profiteering could easily lead to a diminished stable tax base and dire consequences.

3. Food trucks do not have restroom facilities and their patrons utilize the facilities of the permanent businesses in their immediate vicinity. Downtown litter would also increase.

4. Food trucks plunder business developed at great expense to restaurants in the CBD and are not required to abide by the same rules and regulations, design guidelines, or signage restrictions.

5. Food trucks pick and choose the days and times to operate, enjoy the luxury of good weather, peak dining times,and special events all at the expense of downtown restaurants. The lunch business developed by the fixed location restaurants must be protected from the incursion of food trucks.

6. We have not heard of or been provided with a study by the City of Battle Creek that has engaged this topic. What instigated the need for the code change?

Find the original article by Olivia Lewis and Jennifer Bowman at <here>

The entire letter can be found <here>