ISLAMORADA, FL – Restaurants on wheels, which are all the rage in metropolitan areas and the focus of reality TV shows on the Food Network, have found their niche in American food culture.

But if Islamorada’s Local Planning Agency and Mayor Mike Forster have their way, these mobile vendors likely won’t be making regular appearances in the village anytime soon.

“It just doesn’t seem fair

[to non-mobile business owners],” Forster told the Free Press last week.

He said one of his biggest concerns was that mobile vendors, whether a food or retail truck, get to sidestep a lot of provisions, including paying property taxes, that stationary businesses like his just can’t get around.

Forster is the owner of two restaurants on the island chain, Mangrove Mike’s on Upper Matecumbe Key and Lobster Crawl Bar & Grill on Fiesta Key.

He is also concerned that little, if any, of the earnings of mobile vendors get recirculated into the community as is the case with establishments who employ locals.

At last week’s LPA meeting, village staff brought to the table a proposed two-year pilot program for Islamorada where mobile vendors could operate in the village after going through an administrative process that includes obtaining village and state permits, submitting a site plan where they would set up shop and providing written authorization by the parcel owner to be located on that property.

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