Jul 27, 2014

City Council Considers Easing Food Truck Regulations

City Council meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

City Council Considers Easing Food Truck Regulations

Hungry for a juicy burger? Gotta get your Korean taco fix?

Elk Grove foodies may soon be able to chase their culinary cravings and stay local if the City Council approves new regulations making it easier for food trucks to operate in the city.

The City Council tonight will discuss proposed changes to Elk Grove’s laws regarding mobile food vendors, including:

  • Expanding parking time limits for food trucks from 15 minutes to 2 hours
  • Extending hours of operation to 10 p.m., instead of shutting down at 2 p.m.

Many U.S. communities began relaxing prohibitive regulations as the popularity of gourmet food trucks soared, and hungry residents - led by Facebook and Twitter postings - flocked to their favorite restaurants on wheels.

But another revision proposed by the Planning Commission could make it more difficult for food trucks to set up shop in Elk Grove.

Last month, commissioners asked the planning staff to include a regulation that would prohibit food trucks from opening within 350 feet of a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

City staff, however, doesn’t recommend imposing such a restriction.

Existing California health and safety codes require all mobile food vendors conducting business for more than one hour to operate within 200 feet of a restroom, according to a staff report to the council.

“This requirement could provide brick-and-mortars who do not want a mobile food vendor to park in front of their business a means to discourage the (vendor) by limiting their restroom options,” the report reads.

Davin Vculek, owner of the Krush Burger food truck, pointed out that brick-and-mortar restaurants are not restricted from opening next to other traditional eateries.

“I think it’s pretty progressive that they’re taking a positive stance towards food trucks in Elk Grove,” Vculek said. “Some of the other cities have dragged their feet a little bit and it’s taken a lot longer.”

Any regulation on distance from a brick-and-mortar restaurant, however, would restrict fair trade, he said.

“Cities are only supposed to regulate food trucks to protect public safety or health, and clearly a 350-foot restriction from a restaurant has nothing to do with either of those two things,” Vculek said. “It has to do with appeasing local brick-and-mortar restaurant owners.

“…I think there’s a way we can all coexist.”

The full staff report and proposed changes are attached to this article as a PDF.

The City Council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Elk Grove City Hall Council Chambers, 8400 Laguna Palms Way.

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