DCist has a great recap of this morning’s hearing where DC food truck regulations were approved and sent to the Mayor’s desk for his signature. Read the DCist article for more details, but my summary of the outcome (after watching the hearing online):
- Vending zones have been established in most of the popular DC food truck serving locations: if a truck does not win the monthly lottery to serve in one of those zones, they cannot serve within 200-feet of the zone (reduced from the propsed 500-feet).
- The 6-foot sidewalk rule: as with sidewalk cafes, 6 or more feet of unobstructed sidewalk space is required in front of a food truck (reduced from the proposed 10 feet). Parking meters are excluded from qualifying as an obstruction, but it would appear that tree boxes are going to be the biggest issue for trucks.
- Councilmember Wells vowed to further define and clarify the vending zones in future legislation. As it stands, there is no control in place saying how many parking spaces will be allocated to food trucks in vending zones. It could be 3 spaces, or 20 spaces.
All in all, the regulations formalize the existence of food trucks in Washington, DC. Though, there will undoubtedly be many mixed feelings as to what problems the regulations are meant to fix.
A formal reaction from the food truck association is forthcoming. Formal response is copied below:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the D.C. City Council unanimously passed revised food truck regulations that allow food trucks to continue to operate and to serve District residents and workers.
“D.C. City Council today moved a step closer to bringing to a close a process that has gone on for years and to update regulations that are nearly 40 years old,” said Doug Povich, Chairman of the Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington and co-owner of Red Hook Lobster Pound-DC.
The revised rules reduce the amount of unobstructed sidewalk required in order to vend to six feet and reduce the restriction on food trucks near lottery-assigned locations to 200 feet. The rules now move to Mayor Vincent Gray for his signature.
In addition to passing the revised regulations, D.C. Council passed two amendments introduced by Councilman Tommy Wells. Councilman Wells’ first amendment reduced a proposed $2,000 fine for parking at an expired meter to $50 – the same as what other vendors pay. Wells also introduced an amendment to specify that parking meters are not sidewalk obstructions.
“We are extremely grateful to Councilmember Wells for undertaking the hard work that the D.C. Council has undertaken to finally create vending rules that work for food trucks, small businesses and the District itself and that allow residents and consumers in the City to continue to have choices for where to spend their dining dollars,” Povich said.
“We’re glad that the D.C. City Council rejected the Mayor’s proposed regulations and succeeded in passing something better,” said Bert Gall, director of the Institute for Justice’s National Street Vending Initiative. “Today is a win for food-truck entrepreneurs, their employees, and everyone who works and lives in the District.
“We will now closely monitor the implementation of the regulations in order to remind city officials that their proper role is to protect health and safety, not stifle competition,” Gal added.