Fort Collins Food Vendor

Gary Block, right, owner of the Schmickel's hot dog stands, serves Lauren Knuckey, 3, Wednesday at Home Depot. V. RICHARD HARO/ THE COLORADOAN

FORT COLLINS, CO – Kati Anderson understands why some businesses wouldn’t want her mobile cupcake truck parked outside their front door.

Yet she doesn’t believe rules dictating where she can park her purple, rolling business in Fort Collins should be as restrictive as they are.

There’s a middle ground, she believes, that will satisfy brick-and-mortar businesses as well as mobile food vendors like her Cupcake Cruiser that are rolling through the city with increasing frequency.

The city is examining its rules and regulations governing outdoor food vendors, including ice cream trucks, push carts and mobile food trucks, to see if changes are needed. A public survey is out now.

The problem

Currently, mobile food trucks aren’t allowed on public property, can’t park on public streets, can’t locate in residential neighborhoods and aren’t allowed on Old Town Square.

That means the only places they can go in Old Town are on private property, with owner permission. Each time they park in a location or at a festival, they need an individual permit and can be required to make site improvements at some private businesses.

The rules have left many mobile vendors frustrated with their lack of, well, mobility, particularly in and around Old Town.

“It’s a point of contention that makes it infeasible to operate on private property,” said senior city planner and project manager Pete Wray.

Old Town Square, owned by the Downtown Development Authority and managed by the Downtown Business Association, has two spots set aside for vendors. They’re currently occupied by hot dog and gyro vendors, said Peggy Lyle, spokeswoman for the DBA.

Other vendor spots throughout Old Town are regulated by the city’s sales tax office.

“Having vendors downtown does create a vibrancy,” she said, “and our job is to make sure downtown stays vibrant and thrives, but we’re interested in striking the right balance.”

According to a survey by Mobile Cuisine, a trade magazine for mobile food vendors, food trucks have been welcomed with open arms in almost all major cities.

Find the entire article by Pat Ferrier at <here>