There's a new fight in D.C. between the mayor and food truck operators. City officials say new zoning will help clear congested sidewalks, but as Zachary Kiesch reports, food truck owners say the changes will drive many out of business and ultimately impact consumers.
A group of local food truck owner-operators says that new regulations will drive the popular mobile lunch spots out of downtown D.C. and into more receptive areas of the region.
The Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington, which represents more than 50 food truck owner-operators, released a map showing what they believed would be the impact of the proposed legislation.
The proposed regulations call for the creation of special vending zones, with a monthly lottery system in place to award extended-hour locations to a minimum of three trucks per zone. Trucks that do not win a lottery spot would have to operate at least 500 feet from lottery-assigned spots and park in a location with at least 10 feet of unobstructed sidewalk next to it.
Under current rules, food trucks can remain in a parking spot so long as they have a line of customers waiting.
“The bottom line is that, if enacted, the proposed regulations will severely limit consumer choice, force many food trucks out of business, and put many food-truck employees out of work," Doug Povich, chairman of the Food Truck Association's Board of Directors, said in a statement.
“Simply put, these regulations will hurt the city, ” Povich said. “The District will lose hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue. And DC residents and workers will be left with fewer choices and less opportunities for their dollars.”
A spokesman for Mayor Vincent Gray told The Washington Post that the regulations were "not as bleak as food trucks want to make it out to be.”