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City Council allows food trucks to apply for metered parking



Keep on truckin'

On June 27, City Council approved changes to city code that constitute a general update on food-truck policy. The first two, ordinances 17-47 and 17-48, are general language updates, changing official terminology from "peddler of food wares" to "mobile food vendor" in two articles in the city code chapter on business licensing, liquor regulation and taxation. The third, 17-49, provides a legal way for mobile food vendors to set up at parking meters. All three ordinances were passed unanimously with no public comments at either reading, with Council President Richard Skorman recusing himself for each vote. (Skorman's involvement with Poor Richard's Restaurant and Rico's Café and Wine Bar constituted a conflict of interest.)

Starting with ordinances 17-47 and 17-48, while some will lament the fact that a multi-ton mobile kitchen capable of hitting highway speeds will be legally classified as a "Mobile Food Vendor apparatus" rather than the more whimsical "peddler's cart," there is some substantial clarification. Mobile food vendors can't operate within 20 feet of an intersection. They can't sell to someone standing in the street. And they can't block traffic, vehicular or pedestrian.

We've covered ordinance 17-49 before (see Side Dish, April 12), but the code change gives mobile food vendors a way to get a permit for extended use of a metered parking spot. For this to happen, a brick-and-mortar business must partner with a food truck and apply on their behalf for up to four parking meter hoods, usable on either side of the street the business is on. Each brick-and-mortar can only get two such permits per year, but food trucks can work with as many businesses as they please. The food truck can only use the space for 12 hours, and the meter hood must go on two hours in advance.

The ordinance should be finalized by mid-July, after which businesses can start applying for a permit.

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