Jacksonville, FL: Food Truck Operators Calmed A Bit After City Hall Meeting ; Concerns Eased About Possible New Laws to Regulate Them

photo: Flickr (Josh Bassett)

By Steve Patterson  |  Insurancenewsnet.com

photo: Flickr (Josh Bassett)
photo credit: Flickr (Josh Bassett)

Jacksonville food truck operators left City Hall on Wednesday with limited progress changing legislation to regulate their industry, but less alarmed than when a councilman first suggested new rules last month.

“I think they’re really trying,” said Jennifer Kline, who operates Up In Smoke Bar-B-Q.

Councilman Reggie Brown asked Kline and about 15 others to return March 24for another round of talks about the bill, which hasn’t been introduced yet.

Talks Wednesday were part of an effort Brown promised last month to get truck operators, brick-and-mortar restaurant owners and others to settle on rules they can all live with.

Restaurants weren’t represented at Wednesday’s meeting, and Brown said he wants a city inspector and the Downtown Investment Authority to help with outreach to those businesses before the next round.

Over about 2 1/2 hours, truck operators and city officials read a 10-page draft ordinance line-by-line, debating the need for the city to set rules about subjects ranging from truck parking to whether food that’s sold could be frozen for later use.

Parts of the bill were scrapped completely, such as language about trucks not receiving electricity or water from fixed buildings.

Parts of the bill were eyed for strengthening, so that insurance requirements for truck operators were suggested to rise from $200,000 to $1 million. That was tabled so a city risk-management administrator could be consulted first.

Brown said he’d like discussion around the bill to consider steps other cities have tried, such as using low-cost geographic information systems to track the trucks’ travel.

Some truck operators had some simper goals.

“I just want to know where we can park,” Kline said, noting vendors are often unsure about the city’s rules for them