New rules for food trucks approved

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Municipal code amendments that clarify rules for the
78 food truck operators in San Diego were approved Monday by the City Council.

Food truck vendors have been frustrated with code provisions that make
it difficult to operate on public streets and illegal to conduct business on
private property except in downtown — and that's only if the property-owner
obtains a conditional use permit.

Restaurant owners, meanwhile, have been concerned that nearby mobile
purveyors of meals are cutting into business. The trucks have exploded in
popularity due to improved menu quality and options.

The trucks will be allowed to operate without a permit in industrial,
commercial and high-density residential areas. The proposal generally prohibits
them from low-density residential neighborhoods, parts of the restaurant-heavy
Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy, streets near the beach and roadways close to
the city's three major universities unless they obtain special events permits.

They will generally be allowed on private property with a permit that
would cost up to $935, which the staff report says is consistent with other

Among other regulations:

— the trucks will not be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages, general
merchandise or commercial services;

— no equipment aside from refuse containers will be allowed outside the

— operators will be required to collect litter within a 25-foot radius
of the truck before changing locations;

— no amplified music will be allowed; and

— pedestrian and vehicular traffic should not be impaired.

Food trucks will not be allowed to operate between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Sunday through Thursday, or 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday, within 300
feet of a residence. The regulations also set out how large the vehicles can be
and how far away they need to park from intersections and schools.

An earlier proposal to keep food trucks a certain distance from
restaurants was not included because it would not be consistent with state law.

“I think this is a good compromise,” said Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, who
guided the regulations through the Smart Growth and Land Use Committee she

“We needed fair rules for the road,” she said. “I want everyone to be
successful. I want the brick-and-mortar restaurants to be successful and also
the food trucks to be successful — and I absolutely think there is room for
both to be successful.”

The new rules will not apply near the shoreline until the California
Coastal Commission grants its approval, or near local airports until the San
Diego County Regional Airport Authority weighs in.

Categories: KUSI