HOUSTON, TX – An effort to bring vibrant food truck competition to downtown Houston was met with a cool reception from some City Council members concerned about potential safety issues and competition with brick-and-mortar restaurants.
On Tuesday, more than 50 mobile food truck owners and supporters showed up at a council committee hearing to push for changes to the city’s mobile food unit ordinance, saying it would promote economic growth and improve vitality downtown.
“The way the ordinance is right now, it inhibits our growth and our survival,” said food truck vendor Joe Phillip, a representative of Mobile Food Unit Houston Collaborative. “It limits where and how we can sell. Other states and cities have vibrant food truck communities.”
The proposal would lift a ban on mobile food trucks with propane stoves or grills operating in downtown, eliminate the mandatory 60 feet of spacing between each truck, and enable truck vendors to provide seating.
Several council members expressed concern about propane use in the downtown area and the impact mobile food trucks would have on existing restaurants.
Councilman Andrew Burks Jr. opposed the changes, saying he said he has a problem with having multiple trucks lined up along downtown streets, a unsightly scene he has witnessed in other big cities.
Downtown parking is limited, and the close proximity of several trucks could be unsafe, he said.
“There is a danger here,” Burks said. “I don’t like this idea.”
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