New City Laws Allow Food Trucks on the Streets
After months of back and forth between the city and the Central Ohio Food Truck Association (COFTA) regarding the sites at which food trucks can operate, regulations that seem to please both sides have finally passed.
Food trucks now have the ability to serve on city streets more easily. Previously, they were primarily allowed to conduct business only on private properties, mostly breweries, hospitals, and office buildings. Now, with this law being passed, there’re more opportunities for those with mobile businesses.
One of the perceived loudest decries against allowing food trucks on the city’s streets was the competition it would create with brick-and-mortar businesses, who would potentially lose a significant percentage of their revenue to the cheaper alternative.
This isn’t the case though. Restaurant owners aren’t that concerned with the competition food trucks could create, instead seeing their presence as an opportunity for small businesses and entrepreneurs to support each other in order to create a cohesive food culture in the city.
“Food trucks have the ability to transform a block by adding eyes on the street, vibrancy, and bustle to dead spots in our neighborhoods,” shares Liz Lessner, Founder of Columbus Food League. “Neighborhoods lacking many restaurant options have benefited greatly from food trucks, [as there are] more spots to grab a bite closer to home or work, which is a welcome break from the usual fast food options.”
How it will work: in densely populated areas, like the Short North, food trucks will reserve one of 20 pre-designated spots, and in commercial areas, trucks will be able to park at the first and last spot on any block. No food trucks will be allowed in non-commercial or residential areas without a special permit.
In addition, this new legislation allows for an appeals process whereby restauranteurs can petition if they don’t want food trucks parked near their establishments. An advisory board has already been created to help pick designated spots appropriate for food truck vending.
Food trucks undergo rigid fire and health code inspections, and pay up to $180 in licenses and fees. They will also have to pay an additional $250 annual fee for a city parking permit.
To stay abreast of happenings with the food truck culture in Columbus, visit www.centralohiofoodtrucks.org.
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