DC Food Trucks Threatened by Local BIDs
DC area food trucks are in the midst of major opposition from local BIDs and Restaurant Associations in the District. Proposed legislation threatens to restrict where food trucks can park and potentially threatens the ability of food truck proprietors to operate.
The regulation, Title 24 Chapter 5 of the DC Code, applies predominantly to stationary food carts, like the hotdog and pretzel stands by the National Mall. However there isn’t much attention paid to mobile vendors, aside from a rule that specifies that a mobile vendor cannot remain stationary for longer than it takes to complete a transaction with a customer, and that vendors that attract children (ice cream trucks) must park near crosswalks when possible.
So the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), by request of a number of local BIDs and restaurant associations, has now proposed a slew of new regulations that would specifically apply to mobile food trucks, formalizing the requirements that food trucks have to keep moving, must have a line of customers, and must park at least 60 feet from a stationary business selling similar of food.
Unfortunately, that isn’t enough for the BIDs. In comments submitted to DCRA, many have suggested additional language and changes to further protect its members from food truck competition. The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s comments specifically seek to move all vendors more than 25 feet from the entrance of any licensed restaurant. The amendment to include additional language has prompted outcries from the local food truck community, resulting in the “Yes on Title 24” campaign, urging that the reulations not be amended to suit the desires of big-business BIDs and restaurant associations
Helder Gil, the Legislative Assistant collecting comments from the general public, has reportedly received hundreds of emails in support of food trucks during the comment period. The public comment period is technically over, but comments continue to pour in. Gil says that DCRA will continue to accept public comments on these regulations until his “email inbox melts down from the deluge.”