–Post updated (3:30pm, 1/13/2012)–

UPDATE #3: Mayor Vince Gray just tweeted me directly to say the following: @foodtruckfiesta No new enforcement actions are planned,@DCDPW and @DCPoliceDept assure me. New regs are moving forward according to law.

UPDATE #2: Mike DeBonis, from the Washington Post, just got word from a senior aide to Mayor Vincent C. Gray that the new regulations will be published in the Jan. 20 edition of the D.C. Register.

Over the past week, District officials have been visiting food trucks and telling them that beginning on Jan 13, 2012, they will be ticketing food trucks that don’t have a line formed in front of them.  Specifically, if there is a lapse of more than 15 minutes between customers, the food truck will receive a $1000 fine!  UPDATE #1: I hate to report this, but the news is even worse.. District officials were allowing 15 minutes between customers, but starting tomorrow, they will have no time frame!  The fine is also set at $50, but escalates with every violation (so, I’m guessing that’s where the $1000 figure comes from).  This means that if MPD rolls up and sees a truck with no line, they are immediately fined $50 and told to pack things up and go home.  To add insult to injury, if a truck racks up 17 of these violations in one year, they can have their license revoked.

As you may know, DC food trucks are operating under decades-old ice cream truck regulations.  District Mayor, Vincent Gray (email: eom@dc.gov), has new unpublished regulations sitting on his desk that would bring DC’s laws up to date with the current times.  But, he is refusing to move forward with updating the food truck regulations, probably because he doesn’t want to ruffle the feathers of the restaurant association.  So, even though 1,000’s of us residents and food truck fans love the food trucks and want to allow them to operate freely, our elected officials continue to ignore us.

Dessert trucks are likely to be hit the hardest with this new enforcement tactic since desserts are already prepared and lines move extremely quickly.

Enforcement is expected to be seen tomorrow at DC’s Farragut Friday and other popular spots, like L’Enfant plaza.  So, if you see a lonely food truck without a line, why not walk over to have a chat with the owner so that you can reset that 15 minute time limit allow them to continue serving for the day? ;)