The hearing, held at the Daley Center this morning, is the latest development in an ongoing food truck movement in Chicago. The city had filed a motion to dismiss a complaint that a July 2012 ordinance restricting where food trucks can operate (namely, away from restaurants) and requiring a GPS tracking device for every food truck violates the state constitution. The motion to dismiss the complaint was rejected, and the city has been ordered to answer the complaint.
“They held up the core of the case,” said Robert Frommer, an attorney for the Institute for Justice, an Arlington, Va.-based public-interest law firm that represented the owners of food trucks Schnitzel King and Cupcakes for Courage in court today. “Chicago has over 1,000 restaurants, and the cumulative effect is to make it virtually impossible for mobile vendors to vend where their customers are.”
The city did not respond to our requests for comment. Mr. Frommer expects the city to file the answer in roughly a month.
The two food-truck operators filed a lawsuit against the ordinance in November, claiming that the 200-foot rule is “protectionist” and discriminates against mobile food operators.
The much-protested July 2012 ordinance made it illegal to operate food trucks within 200 feet of brick-and-mortar establishments unless it was within one of the 21 city-designated food-truck zones.
The Institute for Justice has filed similar lawsuits on behalf of food-truck operators in El Paso, Texas, Washington and Atlanta in the past two years.
Find the entire article by Ashley Boncimino at Chicago Crain’s Business here
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If you’re a fan of food trucks, you might not find them in their usual spots anymore.
The city of Orlando has changed how the food trucks can operate within city limits.
Channel 9′s Racquel Asa spoke to food truck operators who said the change is enough to put them out of business.
Al Ruiz has spent most of the last two years in his Fish Out of Water food truck, making sushi and making money.
“It’s worked out great for us,” Ruiz said.
A new pilot program launched by the city limits how many nights a private business can host food trucks like Ruiz’s.
WFTV looked through the seven-page pilot program and found some businesses can only host a truck one night a week.
“It stinks. Everyone is cut out, so essentially I could be working six days a month with these new rules,” Ruiz said.
The city said it made the changes because it didn’t anticipate how popular food trucks would become.
If a truck wants to permanently stay at a location, it has to get permission from the city first.
Ruiz said it shouldn’t have to be that way if he’s already making a deal with a business to set up shop on its property.
“I understand there are rules and regulations and everything, I just think they need to be fair and everyone needs to be heard,” Ruiz said.
The pilot program will last for two years. The city said its program is less limiting than other city’s like Boston and Miami, which charge higher permit fees and limit the number of food truck permits.
Food truck operators are asking the City Council to put the brakes on a proposed ordinance that would ban food trucks from operating within 1,000 feet of brick and mortar restaurants.
The City Council’s Safety Services and Licensing Committee on Monday approved the ordinance, sending it to the full council for a vote at the end of the month.
Councilman Richard Santamaria said the ordinance is admittedly a bit of protectionism, but that’s the point — established restaurants pay a lot in taxes and food trucks could steal business from them, he said.
“It’s just fair,” Santamaria said, noting the law used to prohibit food trucks from operating within 1,000 feet of a restaurant, but it was rescinded a few years ago when one particular vendor pressured his city council member.
“We’re just putting it back in,” Santamaria said. “Right now, there’s no radius and you can put a hot dog cart in front of Spikes.”
Food truck vendors say not so fast.
“This is a profoundly unfair ordinance,” said Nicole Anderson, the owner of a coffee truck that she has registered in Cranston but sells her wares in Providence because that city has been encouraging food trucks.
“With a 1,000 feet radius, I’m at a loss to understand where there is a place for a food vendor to operate,” Anderson said. “If I’m 1,000 feet from a Mexican restaurant, I’m not a threat to that business with my coffee truck.”
Food truck owners are hoping the council will reduce the radius from 1,000 to about 200 feet, which they said is more reasonable.
And food truck owners said the resistance to food trucks is based on fear, not the reality of the situation, which is that they’re part of an exploding business that will be a major economic engine that could detour the city if leaders put up roadblocks.
Franke Mapes, a food truck owner who lives in Cranston, said he worked for years managing restaurants in Providence and he always told his employees that they wouldn’t be there without all the other restaurants on the street.
“If there weren’t a lot of choices, people wouldn’t come to Thayer Street,” he said. “We just want our fair share. I’d love to operate in the community I live in and the 1,000 foot rule is prohibitive.”
The focal point of the confrontation could be located at Lang’s Bowlarama on Niantic Avenue.
The owner there invited food truck vendors to come for a Wednesday night event every week. A total of 18 vendors have signed on in the hopes of making the parking lot in front of Lang’s a hopping place throughout the summer.
But the ordinance would prevent that from happening, even if the owner of Lang’s — who sells food himself — is inviting the food trucks to his property.
That’s something that Councilman Mario Aceto said shouldn’t be blocked.
“I don’t see anything wrong with that,” Aceto said. “If there’s enough space and the owner invites you, I don’t see the badness in that.”
Councilman John E. Lanni Jr. said he understands all sides and suggested that food trucks find places in the city that don’t already have a lot of restaurants that would potentially lose business. One such place would be at Hope Highlands.
What council members said they don’t want happening is what florists have dealt with on holidays like Easter and Mother’s day, where hawkers were selling $2 roses at the corner of Park and Reservoir Avenues in spitting distance of numerous flower shops.
Council members got a lot of calls about the hawkers and the food truck issue has gotten their phones ringing too.
Stephen Boyle, director of the Cranston Chamber of Commerce, said he’s spoken to a lot of restaurant owners and said it’s important to support taxpaying business in the city.
“We’re in favor of this, he said. “We’ve got to support local businesses – the bricks and mortars that pay taxes in our city.”
Food trucks must pay the city $250 to operate as an itinerant vendor plus $100 because their trucks qualify as a structure.
But there’s more than just taxes in the revenue picture, said food truck owner Val Khislavsky.
“The growth of the industry in the past few years is indicative that food trucks are on to something — it’s based on demand,” Khislavksy said. “It would be a mistake to not recognize that and capitalize that. I think a lot of opposition is based on fear and an old way of doing things.”
Councilwoman Sarah Kales Lee said she thinks there should be some kind of exception for special events or things like the Wednesday nights for food trucks planned at Lang’s Bowlarama.
“It seems like it would be a nice event,” she said, echoing statements from food truck owners who insist that they’d bring more people into the city and more attention to Cranston. The end result of that is more business for everyone.
But not everyone is convinced.
“If you put a taco truck next to Mesa Cafe, Ishmael is not going to be too thrilled about it,” Boyle said.
Broadcast reporter- Business First
There’s a new food truck hitting the streets of Western New York that is “hot off the press,” literally. Hot Off the Press Food Truck and Catering, which specializes in Panini sandwiches, is ready to roll.
Nicole Burke is the owner of the newest food truck to join the local fleet. “I’m excited, but it’s very nerve wracking,” she said. “People think you buy a truck and serve food, but there’s so much more that goes into it.” That includes licenses, insurance, logo designs and more.
Burke, who has hired one employee to work with her, will get her start on the streets of Cheektowaga. She plans to set up at Airport Commerce Plaza on Cayuga Road on Friday, June 7. She should be on Buffalo streets the following week, after obtaining permits to work in both areas.
At just 25 years of age, she is one of the youngest food truck operators locally. She says she started researching the idea last summer and got the business started with some savings and a loan. She turned to Food Cart USA to create a custom truck.
“I called it Hot Off the Press because it’s a play on words,” she said. “I thought about doing the design like newspapers, but I wanted something bright and colorful.” Burke says she designed the logo, which she hopes will become popular on area streets and at summer events like the Niagara Falls Music and Arts Festival.
Will this new Panini truck sandwich the competition? Stay Tuned. Burke says all of the other food truck operators have been very nice and helpful. “You would think we would all compete, but it’s like a big family,” she said.
Elizabeth Carey is Buffalo Business First’s broadcast reporter
In our quest to keep our readers up to date with the latest stories relating to the food truck industry has compiled a list of the stories that hit the wire this weekend from Sunrise, Washington DC, Fort Wayne, Wilmington and Raleigh.
Food truck controversy still simmering in Sunrise – SUNRISE, FL - Arlon Kennedy and his wife hawk homemade chicken wings from their “Auntie Trish” food truck — but not in Sunrise.
Gourmet food trucks are virtually outlawed in the city thanks to a longtime ban on outdoor sales that has so far been a roadblock for the rolling restaurants.
Find the entire article here
D.C. Council panel rejects food-truck regulations – WASHINGTON DC - A D.C. Council committee Friday rejected a set of proposed vending regulations that food-truck owners had argued would cripple their budding industry.
Four members of the council’s Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Committee voted against the rules, saying they did not do enough to protect food-truck operators.
Find the entire article here
The Growing Craze of Food Trucks Hits Home - FORT WAYNE, IN - It’s summertime in Fort Wayne, meaning it’s time to sit outside and enjoy the weather and the finest foods the city has to offer… even if it comes from a truck.
Over the past year 12 food trucks have popped up around the Summit City with each truck offering a number of specialty menu options ranging from Cajun to prime beef to some American classics like hot dogs and hamburgers.
Find the entire article here
Will Wilmington food trucks get a smoother ride? – WILMINGTON, NC - For Wilmington food trucks, the squeaky wheel may be getting the grease.
Food truck operators have asked the city to loosen restrictions that they say inhibit their businesses. On Wednesday, the city’s planning commission will consider new rules that would give food trucks more freedom.
Find the entire article here
Norfolk finds appetites vary for food trucks elsewhere - RALEIGH, NC - The line sprawling in front of the bright yellow Chirba Chirba food truck was at least 50 people deep and growing by the minute, despite the abiding North Carolina heat and, in some cases, impending one-hour wait.
The Chinese-themed truck – with a Mandarin name that means “eat eat” – was serving its tempting dumplings to a throng of self-proclaimed foodies looking for a fix.
Such was the scene all along Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh last month as more than 10,000 people filled the street for the capital city’s first Food Truck Rodeo.
Find the entire article here
- Weekend Food Truck Roundup Feb 1 – 3, 2013
- Weekend Food Truck Roundup June 15 – 17, 2012
- Weekend Food Truck Roundup June 22 – 24, 2012
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- Weekend Food Truck Roundup Nov 16 – 18, 2012
Miranda Andrew hopes her purchase at the Tikka Tikka Taco truck Saturday in Rapid City will help Shaun Swaleh fulfill his dream of owning a food truck.
Swaleh, his brother Michael, and their uncle, Sam Swaleh, were among five food truck operators who opened for business in Rapid City Saturday as part of the Food Network’s “Great Food Truck Race” — a reality cooking competition where teams with different food trucks travel the country making and selling their cuisine.
The trucks will open again today as part of the competition, but for an abbreviated session as they complete their filming in Rapid City. Several will be at Main Street Square and others will be at locations around downtown Sunday afternoon.
Shaun Swaleh is an Army veteran who recently returned from serving in Afghanistan.
“We’re here to win this for Shaun. This is going to be his career,” Michael Swaleh said.
The battle cry resonated with Andrew, whose husband Jon, is active duty military at Ellsworth Air Force Base.
“He (Swaleh) did his military service and is now pursuing his dream. I think that’s really cool,” she said.
Andrew’s 2-year-old son, Collin, wasn’t as concerned about why they bought the chicken taco as he was that his mom was ready to get him another bite.
This is the fourth season for the “Great Food Truck Race,” hosted by the Food Network’s Tyler Florence. Although producers are keeping mum about details, a little research revealed that filming for this year’s show started in San Francisco, traveled to Portland, Ore., and Pocatello, Idaho, before arriving in Rapid City Wednesday.
Filming took place both in town and at Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse Memorial this week. In addition to Tikka Tikka Taco, others participating include Bowled and Beautiful, Aloha Plate, The Slide Show and Philly’s Finest Sambonis.
In each episode the teams arrive in a new city where they must serve their menu to the local population while completing various themed challenges for rewards. For each day of serving the host provides participants with seed money to buy product to make their menu items. On Saturday, the seed money was only $50, so trucks were open just a short time before participants rushed to local grocery stories to buy more food once they tallied some sales.
“The Great Food Truck Race” journey ends for the team that makes the least amount of money each week until there is one team left to claim the cash prize. The grand prize for the winner has varied between the seasons going from $50,000 to $100,000 and then to $50,000 along with their custom food truck. The show will air beginning in August on the Food Network.
Ben and Tiffany Farrar drove three hours from Eagle Butte and even stayed the night in Rapid City on Friday to be a part of the food truck frenzy Saturday.
“We’re foodies. We’re huge fans of Food Network and this show,” said Ben Farrar, pastor of the First Baptist Church at Eagle Butte. “We love the food truck concept and the specialized foods they create.”
The Farrars were first in line at the Bowled and Beautiful truck Saturday at Founders Park. The women of the truck, Heather Marshall, Liza Barnes and Jessica Butorovich, offered up a chili boat with freshly fried tortilla chips for $10.
Surprisingly, Jade Linseman of Rapid City was ready to sample the food truck chili even though she gets her fill of chili as an employee of the Fairmont Street Wendy’s restaurant in Rapid City.
“We wanted to come out and show our support. It’s exciting and fun,” she said.
Laura Knutson of Rapid City stood in line to wait for bison at The Slide Show Food Truck while her husband, Cody, took their son, Jackson, to his Harney League pee wee baseball game Saturday.
“He’s pitching today. We’re missing his pitching to be a part of this,” Laura Knutson said. She waited in line for more than an hour to buy the $20 slider with fries and candied rhubarb.
The Slide Show’s chef Darrell ‘DAS’ Smith worked with Dakota Thyme owner Julie Smoragiewicz during their stop in Rapid City. Dakota Thyme made the buns for the sliders and provided encouragement during the team’s stay in Rapid City, Smith said.
“She (Julie) is a rock star. She really hooked us up,” he said.
Michelle Nishizuka grew up at Pearl City, Hawaii, so knew she had to show up Saturday to support her boys at the Aloha Plate food truck.
“I wanted to taste what they had,” she said.
Lanai Tabura along with his buddies, Adam Tabura and Shawn Felipe, run Aloha Plate and offered up three lettuce wraps and a drink for $20 Saturday near Main Street Square.
Tabura said Rapid City reminded him of his hometown in Hawaii.
“It’s small and everybody knows everybody’s business,” he said. “We’re lovin’ it here.”
Photo by philliefan99
As expected, the D.C. Council’s Committee on Business, Regulatory, and Consumer Affairs gave its unanimous disapproval to the District government’s proposed regulations over food trucks. The vote, which itself is non-binding, sets the regulations up to be rejected next month by the full council, ensuring that a process that Councilmember Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) called “longest-running movie on the council” will tack on yet another act.
The District has been attempting to impose specific regulations, now on their fourth revision, on the city’s expanding food truck market since mid-2010. And while the most recent draft seemed to hold some promise, food truck operators pushed back over several stipulations.
Food truck operators are wary of language in the current draft that would designate up to two dozen “mobile vending zones” around the city’s busiest landmarks such as Farragut Square and Union Station and offering parking spaces in those locations through a monthly lottery. While city officials say there are more proposed parking spaces than food trucks in existence, the group representing food trucks has said it is not keen on having the government parcel out where they can set up shop. Additionally, the proposed regulations stipulate that trucks that don’t win a lottery spot keep at least 500 feet from the designated zones.
Mobile vendors also want to see the end of a rule requiring they position themselves next to sidewalks that are at least 10 feet wide.
The Council officially has until June 22 to approve, reject, or take no action at all on the regulations, and while the full Council’s vote is likely to reflect the committee tally taken today, Vincent Orange (D-At Large), who chairs the committee, wants to take a slightly different course. Orange said he plans to introduce emergency legislation that would empower the Council to tweak the regulations directly, which could help avoid returning them to the drawing board for a fifth draft.
That seems possible considering the Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington largely agrees with the regulations, at least when it comes to topics like health standards, food safety, and labor practices. But the group’s opposition to the parts of the regulations it did not like was fierce. It mounted extensive social media and outdoor advertising campaigns, and even attracted the support of some brick-and-mortar restaurateurs.
“We want to keep having this good, positive dialogue,” Orange said.
The vote came as a relief to the Food Truck Association. “We’re ready to work with the District and community to make the needed revisions to the current proposal,” Doug Povich, the group’s chairman and the owner of the Red Hook Lobster Pound truck, said in a news release. “We hope the Council will be able to consider an improved version of these regulations as soon as possible.”
It started on somewhat of a whim. The food truck was by the side of the road. Brian Branigan and his partner, Allison Culbertson, were looking for a new direction. And the owner of the truck was so desperate to unload it, he gave it to them for half price.
But since the Hudson couple began operating Tortillaville, a Mexican food truck built around fresh, simple offerings, they’ve gained some wisdom about the hard realities of rolling burritos for a living. It’s led them to write “Food Truck 411: The Essential Information to Run a Successful Food Truck,” a cookbook/how-to guide, due out this summer ($18.95, available at Amazon or foodtruck411book.com).
“You will be able to determine, by the time you read through the book, which side of the line you fall on, if you really are ready to roll or if you’re just going to say, ‘I’m not ready to do this because it takes a certain breed to succeed,’” Branigan says. “I think people get into the food truck business thinking that it’s going to be affordable and easy, and you’re going to make a lot of money, but you probably end up learning that it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do in your life.”
Tortillaville, which is a May-through-October stationary food truck at 347 Warren St., Hudson, has been serving up tacos, burritos and “Poco Plates” (tortilla-less burritos) for five years. The couple — Branigan was a union film technician for 20 years and Culbertson is a designer — wasn’t completely new to the food business when they dove into Tortillaville. They’d been partners in a New York City multimedia lounge bar.
And they’re much like many of today’s food truck operators — creative types with multi-career backgrounds who love good food.
Q: You say the rise in food trucks is a mix of people’s interest in global food and their desire to know more about what they’re eating, which many owners in the new wave of food trucks satisfy. Could you talk more about that?
A: Today is much more global. You’ve got to have a more open mind and try food from around the world, so I think there’s a cultural connection. The place that took off in L.A., Kogi (BBQ Taco Truck Catering), it was just this fusion of Korean and Mexican food, and it took off. They have done incredibly well.
Also, I’m shocked at how many people have said, “Is that GMO? Gluten-free? Does it have nuts in it, and what are the ingredients in that?” They know their diets better than anyone. People are part of this whole cultural movement. It’s like knowing art. People are honing in on specifics, and they really know good food, but they also know that food is not just something you eat. It’s not just fuel. They’re eating consciously.
Q: The appeal of food trucks from an owner’s perspective is that they have lower overhead than a brick-and-mortar restaurant. How much of a commitment is it?
A: It’s not cheap. Some well-known restaurants were rolling out these extremely elaborate $100,000 food trucks, whereas me, $13,000, and I have a food trailer.
You can try to (operate) it all yourself, but you shouldn’t. You burn out if you’re a busy food truck. It’s just so much that you just can’t do it yourself. I’ve said to people that you’re going to need help one way or the other. If you don’t get employees, you’re going to need professional help eventually.
Q: What is the key to food truck success?
A: What it comes down to, really, you really want to serve good food. It’s not for posers. This is the real deal. You can’t fake it. … The food has to be genuinely good, and you have to understand what good food is.
My least favorite question or request is, “What’s the fastest thing I can get. I’m catching a train.” And we usually say, “a bag of chips.” I remind people that this is not fast food. It’s slow food, and we take pride in it. We try not to make you pain and labor over something taking more time than it should take, but it’s slow food that you really should be proud of.
When it really works right, what happens is that you see people who not only live in the town coming out and promenading the streets, but it’s a place where you can just run into other people. There’s something about food that creates a community within a community.
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CARLISLE – Borough Councilman Matthew Madden said he doesn’t want mobile food cart vendors taking business away from Carlisle restaurant owners set up in brick-and-mortar establishments.
Madden said he would prefer to see the borough’s empty, unimproved buildings downtown filled, rather than changing Carlisle’s Borough Code to allow mobile food purveyors to set up in Carlisle.
Sections of the code prohibit mobile food carts and trucks in Carlisle, except during parades and other special events. Section 237-2 specifically prohibits what are deemed “transient businesses,” which mobile vendors fall under in the borough.
“My concern is protecting the existing brick-and-mortar businesses,” Madden said during a council committee meeting this morning, where the mobile food cart issue was raised. “I want to make sure there is an incentive for investors to come in over time. I want to make sure we can sustain both the existing, and the proposed.”
Technically, he isn’t allowed to do it, but Jason Turner, who sells Falafel from a bicycle cart, skirts the law by selling his fare on private properties.
Turner said while there likely would be pushback from restaurant owners, there is room for compromise, just like there is in other midstate municipalities and major cities across the U.S., including Chicago, where there was a struggle existed between restaurant owners and food cart purveyors.
In that spirit, Council Vice President Tim Scott suggested council change the municipality’s code to allow mobile food cart vendors in Carlisle, but not without first gathering input from stakeholders.
Scott scheduled a public hearing on the matter to give restaurant owners and would-be food cart and truck operators and constituents a chance to weigh in on the subject.
The meeting will take place at Borough Hall at 7:30 p.m. on July 31.
“Across the country, food truck and other forms of mobile food vending are gaining popularity in large, and yes, even smaller cities like Carlisle,” Scott said. “As a matter of fact, I had a conversation with the zoning officer last year, and he stated that in 2012 alone, he had turned down at least 10 different requests for (mobile food vendors).”
Council President Perry Heath said he is concerned over how food carts and trucks would be regulated in the borough.
Heath said he is not interested in placing that responsibility in the borough’s lap. And he told Turner that changing borough code is a long process, and if council were to allow for food carts and trucks, it might not happen until next spring.
“We can’t create another bureaucracy within local government,” Heath said. “Another issue for me is. The devil is always in the details. Want to make sure if we do it, it is done right.”
Councilman Don Grell said that while he wants to hear more from stakeholders, he supports allowing mobile food vendors in the borough under adopted regulations, rather than completely banning them altogether.
Borough Manger Matthew Candland told council members at this morning’s joint meeting of the Economic Development and Sustainability and Community Planning committees that food carts and trucks could “be part of the outside dining strategy. It’s this whole concept of outside dining. We don’t have to reinvent this type of thing. When u start having a critical mass of restaurants, maybe it could enhance our restaurant district.”
Allowing mobile food vendors in the borough would help add to the borough’s tax base, and could enhance the downtown, said Turner, whose mobile food bike business is named “Unlawful Falafel.”
Turner noted that Redds Smokehouse BBQ, a popular downtown restaurant, developed from a food stand into a brick-and-mortar establishment.
“I sell $4 falafel and lemonade. I’m not even in a bracket that can compete (with downtown restaurant owners),” said Turner, former co-owner of the defunct Carlisle eatery, the Green Room. “I wouldn’t set up in (restaurant parking lots). It seems like we are trying to keep a very specific set of things in a continuing pattern.”
“It’s a win-win for everybody in the community as long as somebody doesn’t want to get it all,” he continued. “It’s something that is evolving…get ahead of it before you get behind it.”
If you go:
What: Carlisle Borough Council public meeting on possibly allowing mobile food vendors to operate in the borough.
When: 7:30 p.m. July 31
Where: Bourough Hall, 53 W. South St.
Administrators want to change locations, raise operating hours
CHAMPAIGN — City officials would extend a pilot food-truck licensing program for another year under a proposal scheduled to be presented to city council members tonight.
Participation has been low, and city officials are not quite ready to make the current rules on food trucks permanent, said Assistant Planning Director Rob Kowalski. Council members are scheduled to discuss the one-year extension at 7 p.m. today in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.
“The amount of participation has been limited,” Kowalski said. “There’s only three trucks operating right now, so we’re not ready to make permanent code changes.”
Administrators will recommend a few relatively minor changes to the rules. The pilot program is set to expire June 1, and city officials need to approve the extension if they want to keep food trucks operating on Champaign streets.
The city has issued seven permits since the program began last June, though only three businesses have taken advantage of them lately. Burrito King, Cracked and The Empanadas House have been active on Champaign streets.
Food trucks may operate without the city license on private property, as long as they have the permission of the owner and the proper zoning. But food-truck operators need a license to open on public property, and the pilot program allows them to operate in seven specific areas for periods of up to two hours.
One of those areas, across the street from the construction site of the new Hyatt Place at Neil and Main streets, will be eliminated to reduce conflict there, Kowalski said. Another on Wright Street just north of Green Street will be moved to the south side of Green Street.
City administrators will also recommend that food trucks be allowed to stop in one spot for up to four hours instead of two, and they will suggest that a decibel limit be placed on the trucks to reduce noise.
“One of the trucks had a pretty loud generator, and it wasn’t something we anticipated,” Kowalski said.
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