BIRMINGHAM, AL – The Birmingham City Council could vote Tuesday on a much-debated and long-delayed mobile food vendors’ ordinance that food truck owners say is “restrictive and oppressive” and, if passed, could put them out of business.
The Greater Birmingham Street Food Coalition, which represents the food truck and push cart operators, is opposed in particular to a provision in the proposed ordinance that would restrict them to certain designated zones and limit their ability to move around the city.
“The GBSFC is fighting this ordinance because, as it stands now, it is restrictive and oppressive,” Paget Pizitz, co-owner of the Melt food truck and vice president of the coalition, wrote in an email to AL.com. “If passed, it could put many of the trucks, carts and trailers out of business.
“This means countless loss of jobs and there is the potential that Birmingham would be a city without food trucks. This is particularly upsetting because the people of Birmingham have been so welcoming and supportive of the food truck community.”
The coalition has adopted the slogan “No Zones, Let Us Roam,” and is urging councilors to vote no on the ordinance as it is currently written.
“The Birmingham Food Truck Coalition is concerned with the proposed Birmingham Food Truck and Mobile Vendor Ordinance, as it currently stands,” the group said in a statement. “Among other provisions, the proposed ordinance would limit food truck operations to currently unknown ‘food zones’ to be designated in the future by the City Council.
The ordinance the council could vote on Tuesday would, among other things:
- Require food truck vendors to pay an annual fee of $300 for a general permit to operate with the city limits or $500 for a “premier” permit to operate within the City Center; for push carts operators, those fees would be $80 or $100, respectively.
- Establish a Mobile Food Vendors Committee made up of representatives from various city departments, as well as REV Birmingham and the Greater Birmingham Street Food Coalition, to review all applications and approve their locations.
- Restrict food trucks from operating with 150 feet of an existing restaurant.
- Limit, with some exceptions, the hours during which mobile food vendors could operate to between 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, plus some late-night hours determined on a case-by-case basis.
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