MONTEREY, CA – Street food trucks are welcome on Cannery Row but not Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey lawyers said Tuesday night – despite opposition from the City Council.

The city has tried for nearly a year to scrap the city’s ban on food trucks operating on public streets to conform with state law – which only imposes limits for public safety.

On Tuesday, many councilmembers questioned legal precedents and raised other concerns before pushing the topic down the line another two weeks. It has been continued five times now without passage.

Assistant city attorney Karin Salameh said Monterey’s own traffic study could not make a legal argument against the trucks on Cannery Row because it is already so congested there that it was impossible to contend more people would make a difference. Also, low speed limits and congestion there make traffic accidents rare.

Moreover, any laws that overly restrict the trucks – such as instituting buffer zones, or making them obey different rules than brick-and-mortar stores – have traditionally been overruled in court.

“I can only provide you with my best legal advice, and that is that there is an appellate court decision stating that these restaurant buffer zones violate the Constitution,” Salameh told the council.

Councilman Ed Smith, echoing statements made by the Cannery Row Business Association, said congestion levels would clearly go up and a food truck parked outside a restaurant would create more of a problem. He wanted more information on creating business buffer zones.

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