City officials in New Smyrna Beach have invited food trucks to participate in the Food Truck Bazaar for the third time this year, reports The Daytona Beach News Journal. However, mobile food vendors are prohibited from vending in the city, with the exception of special events.
The Planning and Zoning Board will consider a new proposal, allowing food trucks to serve in the city on September 10. The proposal has already been heard and revised several times previously. Under the new proposal, food trucks would be permitted to operate on property that is already developed, and can not be located in the public right of way.
City Planning Manager, Gail Henrikson believes that allowing food trucks to serve on a permanent basis would undermine and thwart redevelopment investment efforts.
“The policy direction we’re seeing from the City Commission is that they want to encourage programs and uses that will enhance and beautify the city,” Henrikson said. “And as planning staff we just do not see how allowing food trucks on perhaps developed, but abandoned land or land that’s not currently being used, really meets that policy direction from the City Commission.”
Mark Rakowski, a planning consultant, proposed allowing food trucks in the city in July on behalf of some local restaurant owners who would like to add food trucks to their businesses. The city seems to favor the idea of food trucks on the streets, provided the food truck operator already owns a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Despite Henrikson’s objections and loosely supported rationale, some of the more level-headed Planning and Zoning Board members feel that the proposed food truck regulations are actually too prohibitive, and that food trucks should be allowed to serve in other areas, as well.
Henrikson agreed to work with Rakowski to finalize a proposal, but insists that food trucks operations be restricted to specific areas, because the majority of cities that she researched are already restricting service locations. While she prefers to limit the number of food trucks in the city, no other city imposes such restrictions. Therefore, she feels setting a cap would be arbitrary, at best. Somehow, restricting service locations, simply because other cities do, isn’t arbitrary.
Food trucks are not permitted in Daytona Beach, Holly Hill, Orange City, Ormond Beach and South Daytona. Like New Smyrna Beach, food trucks are allowed for only special events in Daytona Beach Shores, Port Orange and Volusia County.
Restaurant owner, Joel Paige feels that food trucks will bring tourists to the area and boost local economy, as they have in other cities like Austin, where he has done business in the past. Ultimately, any changes to the current regulations will need to be approved by the City Commission.