monterey ca downtownMONTEREY, CA – Changing food fashions have transformed the once-humble food truck into a fashionable eatery on wheels.

As the mobile kitchens have grown in popularity in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area and other areas, the laws of the state have followed.

Several court cases have tested the limits of local jurisdictions to regulate food trucks, but state law basically allows them on public streets subject to some limits for public safety.

“Other cities have been involved in a lot of litigation,” said Karin K. Salameh, assistant city attorney in Monterey, on Thursday.

Monterey now bans food trucks — though many have worked in private lots in business-park areas such as Ryan Ranch for years — but the city is in the process of changing its indefensible ban to conform to current state law.

The move wasn’t prompted by any would-be operators seeking to ply their wares on wheels in Monterey, but simply by the desire to square city laws with state law, Salameh said.

The proposed city law — which would restrict mobile food vendors to operating from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., adhering to parking time limits, staying at least one block from school grounds and complying with several other rules — drew a protest from the Cannery Row Business Association.

The business group said in a March 12 letter to the City Council that strong protections for “our resident businesses who invest in the time and expense of a real storefront location” must be added to the proposed city law.

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