D.C. Food Trucks Struggle to Reach a Compromise

In Washington DC, another city teeming with both food trucks and regulation controversy, a new proposal involving “vending development zones” has been announced. With this new strategy neighborhoods can decide how many mobile and sidewalk vendors can populate their area, as a means to appease brick-and-mortar restaurants.

The D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs is responsible for this initiative, in response to 19 months of debating over how to update current regulations that do not apply to the modern era of mobile vendors. Still a proposal, this would need to be approved by D.C.’s Council in order to become official law.

Under the new proposals, the previous “ice cream truck” rules which require mobile vendors to leave their locations when they have no lines will be eliminated. With the new proposal, food trucks can remain in a spot until the parking meter expires.

The new rules will be a huge improvement for food truck owners. Co-owner of Curbside Cupcakes and executive director of the D.C. Food Truck Association, Kristi Whitfield said, “That alone is going to make it a lot more reasonable for food trucks to operate their business. I think that is a tremendous step forward for the city.”
However, sweet and savory vendors are separated by this rule, as ice cream and dessert trucks may still only stay in their locations for ten minutes if there are no customers in line. The different rules are apparently because savory trucks have to take more time to prepare their food, a time-consuming process that dessert trucks do not have to deal with.

Overall, the vending development zone rule has done the most to appease both the food trucks and brick and mortar restaurants the most. Community organizations will have the authority to submit proposals to create certain zones where the number of vendors at a certain time can be limited. In this way high profile areas with many restaurants can be monitored to prevent too many food trucks at once parking in the same space. So far feedback has been mixed on this proposition, which will soon be voted on.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

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