CHARLOTTE, NC – Charlotte’s food-truck vendors are mostly pleased with the city’s proposed regulations unveiled Thursday, but there is one sticking point: whether trucks need one-time permits for birthday parties and other special events.
Under the proposed changes, a food truck hired for, say, a back-to-school event on a Saturday morning and a neighborhood block party that evening would need two permits from the city. Under today’s fees, each permit would be $155.
“That’s a huge sticking point,” said Karen Trauner, who owns a mobile ice-cream truck, Sticks and Cones.
She said the paperwork will be a “nightmare” for both the city and food trucks.
“I would rather spend more for an annual permit that will cover everything,” Trauner added.
Trauner and other food-truck owners said they don’t understand why they would be asked to get special permits when other vendors, such as someone who rents bounce houses, wouldn’t need one for the same event.
Another example cited by food-truck vendors: Why would exterminators and lawn-maintenance firms not need special permits for each house they visit?
Donalyn Pizzo, who co-owns with her husband a truck called Gourmet Goombas, said she often is hired to do charity events.
She said she might not be able to pass the cost of a special permit on to her customers.
Still, Pizzo said the proposed rules overall are much better for her business than what the city had previously considered this year.
“They would have put us out of business,” Pizzo said about earlier proposals by the city.
The city has struggled with regulating food trucks since 2006, when some neighborhoods complained about trucks parking in residential areas and selling food to nearby workers. A new ordinance was enacted in 2008.
Since then the popularity of food trucks has exploded, and events such as Food Truck Friday in South End are now staples of the community.
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