by Jeff Hoyt
As food trucks proliferate from coast to coast (and even on Hawaii), municipalities are struggling to regulate them. In Los Angeles, there’s a movement to have inspectors give food trucks letter grades like they do to restaurants. There have also been parking struggles, as a time limit on how long they can park in one place was overturned in court. A food truck lot was opened in the beach community of Santa Monica, and then shut down by zoning enforcement the very next day. It has recently reopened on private property, complete with permits.
Atlanta granted its first mobile food truck permit in August, while in Boston, complex licensing and zoning regulations are keeping many food trucks off the streets. New York has held hearings on a regulation that threatened to revoke vendor’s licenses for multiple parking violations. Last month in Emeryville, a San Francisco suburb with lots of food trucks, the City Council called for a task force to examine their mobile catering ordinance to review the rules.
Restaurateurs complain about the competition, while locals may have issues with parking, noise, garbage and crowds, but food trucks are here to stay. As an attorney friend of mine bought me a melt at The Grilled Cheese Truck, I wondered, will ambulance-chasing lawyers be replaced by food-truck-chasing attorneys?