NEW ORLEANS, LA – Food truck operators Tuesday pushed for new rules that would permit so-called “food truck lots.”

The draft Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance would allow food trucks to obtain permits to lease private lots for use as temporary gathering places — something currently prohibited — but the rules are so restrictive that they wouldn’t make it a viable business option, Taylor Jackson, owner of Empanada Intifada and political director of the New Orleans Food Truck Coalition, said during a public hearing.

For example, food trucks would only be allowed to operate until 8 p.m. unless the city approves later hours. That would force the mobile vendors to shut down during the height of the dinner rush, said Jackson, who requested the hours be pushed to 10 p.m. or 2 a.m. in certain neighborhoods.

The draft CZO would also limit food trucks to operating one day a week if they are working in a parking lot during its normal business hours. If the food trucks are using a lot when it’s closed, they would be allowed to operate three days a week. Jackson requested that they be allowed to operate at least five days a week.

There also are restrictions placed on the owners of lots. If they want to lease their property to food trucks, they would be required to rent each truck at least 1,000 square feet of space. Jackson said that is an absurd amount of room when each truck takes up only 200 square feet. Such a requirement would defeat the concept of food truck lots that are intended to attract a number of vendors to one spot to provide a variety of choices, he said, requesting the space requirement be decreased to 500 square feet.

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