Ft. Collins, CO: Fort Collins food trucks resist more regulations

(Photo: Morgan Spiehs/Coloradoan library)

By Kevin Duggan  | Coloradoan

People line up for their favorite food trucks at the Coloradoan Food Truck Festival
Thursday, July 23, 2015. The festival, benefiting United Way, hosted
live music and local food trucks.

Controversy about potential changes to rules for food trucks in Fort Collins continues to roll along.

A handful of food truck owners showed up to the Fort Collins Planning and Zoning Board meeting on Thursday to voice concerns about proposed regulations that would limit how long trucks may stay on private property.

The issue was not on the board’s agenda, but the vendors showed up anyway. They know the board and other city planning officials are kicking around ideas for rules and recently had a work session on the topic.

The vendors were clear on their takes about additional regulations: Don’t do it; leave us alone; business is challenging enough; we don’t need more complications.

The city, county and state already heap requirements on vendors, they said. To add more, such as limiting how long they may park in a single place over the course of a day, week or month would hurt their businesses.

And that’s the crux of this issue. The City Council has told staff to come up with ways to ensure mobile vendors, as in food trucks, are indeed mobile. The trucks are not supposed to be in semi-permanent locations.

The council’s interest in trucks is in response to other businesses that are unhappy about trucks that always set up in the same places.

Just a few vendors fall into this category. The majority of the city’s 40 or so licensed food trucks regularly move around to breweries and other sites, including the Coloradoan, in search of business.

The trucks are on private property and have all the permits they need to be there, but some other businesses don’t like it. However, a non-scientific online poll conducted by the city found 81 percent of respondents don’t see a problem with how long trucks are at the same place.

The Planning and Zoning Board is considering options for regulating time through land-use code changes. Ideas under consideration include limits of 50 hours per week or 100 hours per month.

A recommendation will be made to City Council eventually, but only after more meetings involving city staff and vendors and the planning board.

There will be a lot more talking; and the vendors are not likely to reverse their positions.