May 24, 2012
Kim Rivers

Arlington food truck regulations sought by Rosslyn leaders

As food trucks and mobile eateries continue to gain in popularity across the D.C. area, some Arlington restaurant owners are fed up with their increasing numbers.

(Photo: ABC7)

Their fear is that the growth of food trucks is taking customers away from them, and now, they’re taking action to restrict the mobile meals. In fact, The Rosslyn Business Improvement District is proposing ways of controlling food trucks, and will pass recommendations on to the Arlington County Board in June.

As first reported by ARLNow, the dozens of restaurateurs and eatery owners believe that food trucks in Arlington are “inadequately regulated.” One of those owners is Moe Houdaigi, who has owned the Brooklyn Bagel Shop on Wilson Boulevard for more than 13 years.

Despite being surrounded by competing restaurants on both sides, he says his biggest rivals are the food trucks.

“They don’t have overhead, they don’t pay taxes, they don’t have employees (and) they don’t pay rent,” Houdaigi said. “It’s a big competition.”

Food trucks, of course, are nothing new to Rosslyn. On any given weekday, hungry workers and residents can find more than a half-dozen lined up. Customers love the variety, but business owners dislike the roaming competition.

“It’s nice because it gives you more options, and they change,” food truck customer Rebecca Grastsy said. “Last week, there was a truck here that never comes to this area, so we have different options.”

Among the changes the BID would like to see are a limit to the number of food trucks that can be on any given block at a time and making sure sidewalks are cleared so people can move freely. They also want to keep trucks at least 65 feet away from businesses.

Meanwhile, there’s no guilt from many food truck vendors, who would rather see both flourish than one side going after another.

“I hope the board finds a way for the food trucks and the brick-and-mortar restaurants to co-exist,” vendor Andy Nguyen said.

Nguyen also disputes one other point the BID makes – he does pay rent, in the form of $4 to park in his spot on Wilson.

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