Sunday, August 5, 2012

More Thoughts on Food Truck Ordinances


On Friday when I wrote about the success of the food truck talks I said that I had always had a dream that Sacramento could be an example for other cities. But I guess my statement might have been misleading. My happiness of the day was for the fact that we came to a compromise that makes things better than the silly 30 minute rule we have now. The new ordinances are far from being glorious examples for everywhere. I understand the need for a government to have ordinances, but still...

First off, there's still the distance rule from restaurants. I am a firm believer that - if your restaurant can't compete against a food truck, you shouldn't be in business. Seriously, if a restaurant's food and service isn't enough to keep the customers coming in, they need to reassess themselves and stop blaming a nearby food truck. 

I still argue that there are the customers who are in the mood for sitting down being served, drinking alcohol, and lounging with friends. They are different than the customer who hasn't got a lot of time or money to spend and wants to grab something from a truck. Sure a person can be both, but on any given day they are one or the other.

I think a private property owner should be able to have a truck park on their property and see no reason for there to be a "no return rule for 72 hours" except that it was a compromise with the restaurant/business owners.

What I am super excited about is the pilot of up to five food pods. There's already a property picked with so many possibilities. The plans call for something that, done properly, could create a pod that can be an example for other cities. More on that at a later date.

Cities throughout California and the country struggle with food truck ordinances. Every day there are news articles on this city or that talking about them. Restaurant owners complain in every city or town.  In California, there have been lawsuits because State law actually trumps local law so that, in reality, cities have no right to make ordinances for anything except for health and safety. Cities have already lost battles in court because there are no health and safety reasons for distance from a restaurant.

But Cities don't like lawsuits and trucks (and the public) want change sooner rather than later. That means compromise.  Compromise means that not everyone is happy and got what they wanted, but they can live with a deal. Friday's ordinance deal will be reviewed at certain marks in the future. Things can always change. 

So to be clear, the new Sacramento ordinances aren't perfect and aren't shining examples for the State or country, but they are better than what we have now.


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