Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Food Trucks Won't Play In Peoria

I love the food truck news coverage Reason provides.

Some food truck news from Peoria, IL. The City Council just voted no on an ordinance that would've allowed 3 whole food trucks in the city. They do allow about a dozen food carts downtown at lunch time, which I enjoyed for lunch many times even though they were always crowded. Good crab rangoon. Peoria has plenty of room for three food trucks.

I previously wrote about this and a couple of enterprising, young U of IL students with plans to start a food truck operation.

From The Peoria Journal Star by John Sharp
Mobile food vehicles will not be rolling into Peoria, parking along Downtown streets, and selling unique foods to patrons anytime soon.
With a 6-5 vote Tuesday, the City Council shot down an ordinance that would have allowed the trucks, albeit in a limited fashion since only up to three food trucks would have been permitted. /...
The defeated ordinance would have charged truck operators $3,400 to serve food at approved locations within the Warehouse District, in front of the Peoria Civic Center and along Hamilton Boulevard next to the Peoria County Courthouse. The fee was $1,000 less for truck operators who already own a restaurant.
Outside the Downtown area, the ordinance restricted food trucks from being within 200 feet of existing restaurants.
Also, the ordinance established a 500-foot restriction on food trucks from schools, carnivals, festivals and other special events.
Article from prior Peoria city council meeting.
"It's not the same playing field," Pat Sullivan, co-owner of Kelleher's Irish Pub & Eatery, said.
Mike Wisdom, a riverfront developer whose properties include Joe's Crab Shack and Hooters, agreed.
"The restaurants in this community invest their own money and life savings in many cases," Wisdom said. "They pay real estate taxes and are monitored closely by the county. ... Their costs are higher.
He added, "(food trucks') operating costs are lower, and they don't pay real estate taxes to the city. For me, that's not a level playing field."
Restaurants and food trucks are playing different games and have differing costs. That's no reason to ban them completely. Peoria shouldn't give up on this, food trucks would be a great addition to many of the underserved areas and crowds.

Meanwhile in Champaign, IL they will start a pilot project.

Patrick Wade, staff writer News-Gazette
City officials will allow food trucks to operate in select areas in downtown Champaign and Campustown this summer as they figure out how to accommodate the mobile restaurants in the future.
They are calling it a "pilot project," and part of the goal is to gather information to give to city council members when they consider more permanent regulations for food trucks during a meeting on June 26.

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