New Orleans City Council president Stacy Head plans to introduce sweeping changes to city ordinances concerning food trucks — including expanding the number of permits allowed and the areas where trucks can go, including into the CBD.
But CBD businesses are wary of competing, and mobile, food vendors setting up shop close to their doors — a petition charge, led by restaurateur Rebuen Laws, is gathering signatures to voice opposition to Head's changes. The petition reads:
Restaurant owners in the CBD are about to have their sales invaded on by the food truck industry should new legislation get passed in February. Restauranteurs have made great investments in their product and have worked hard to build a following of customers in their area. To think that a food truck can soon park 50 feet from our doors and sell food during peek hours of business for 4 hours is truly concerning!!!!! This legislation should be stopped immediately!!!!!!!
As of this writing, the petition has 175 signatures.
The city's 60-year-old municipal code caps active mobile vendor permits to 100, limits operating time to 45 minutes, and prevents trucks from operating within 600 feet of restaurants and schools. At city council's October 2012 economic development and special projects committee meeting, Head led the first public discussions to "totally revamp" laws that affect food trucks.
Councilmembers have voiced they'd like to have more food options near City Hall, or in nearby Lafayette Square, for regular food truck rallies. "The concept of having permanent mobile vendors is one we have to incorporate into the upcoming (zoning) discussions ... so the same prohibitions don't come into play," Head told Gambit last year. "How do we work with this 600 feet ordinance, which will be changed, and how do you make the two work together?"
Head also has organized food truck rallies in Central City on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard.