Washington, DC is changing food truck regulations. But powerful special interest groups are trying to severely restrict where and how District diners can enjoy food trucks – or worse yet, close these small businesses all together!
On January 20, 2012, Washington, DC Mayor Vincent Gray proposed new rules to update the 30-year-old regulations governing food trucks.
Overall, the proposed rules issued by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs are a significant improvement over the current regulations, which state that food trucks can only stop where people “hail” them (similar to an ice cream truck) and must close and leave if no one is waiting in line.
The proposed regulations would allow food trucks to remain open without being hailed and without a line. However, the proposed regulations also have rules that threaten these new and innovative small businesses:
• Limiting Sweets Trucks to 10 Minutes: The proposed regulations allow dessert trucks to be open for only 10 minutes if there are no waiting customers. Sweets food trucks should be allowed to be open as long as savory food trucks.
• Zoning of Food Trucks: The new regulations propose to create Vending Development Zones. The goals of these zones are worthy. However, Vending Development Zones must not be manipulated by special interest to create “Food Truck-Free Zones” that eliminate consumer choice or fair competition.
• Shorter Hours for Food Trucks Than for Restaurants: The proposed regulations require food trucks to close at 10 pm on weekdays and 1 am on weekends. Food trucks should be allowed to be open the same hours as restaurants.
The Washington, DC Food Trucks Association supports passage of Mayor Gray’s proposed new regulations with these issues addressed.
The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is collecting public comment about the proposed new regulations until March 03, 2012. Please tell the government of the District of Columbia to pass new food truck regulations now!
While I support these regulations, I hope that my favorite food trucks won’t be pushed out of my neighborhood. As you finalize the regulations please make sure that:
• Sweet and savory trucks are treated the same
• Vending Development Zones are not used to create “Food Truck Free Zones” that limit or eliminate my food truck options
• Food trucks are allowed to be open the same hours as restaurants
• The comments of the Washington, DC Food Trucks Association are taken into full consideration
Please pass these proposed new regulations quickly.