San Antonio, TX: Food truck owners file lawsuit against the city

By Contributor  | News 4 San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO- El Bandera Jalisco’s owner Rafael Lopez says this property was serving a dual purpose and made for a unique restaurant atmosphere to his customers.

“I am renting the property and I wanted to combine it, I wanted to have the restaurant inside and the kitchen outside,” says Rafael Lopez.

But just over a month into business, an inspector from the city showed up at his truck. Lopez says that inspector told him he would need a written letter, signed by all restaurants within 300 feet giving him approval to operate.

He says he wrote that letter and dropped it off at the Chinese restaurant next door, but he never got a response. His food truck was shut down in May.

Now, months later, Lopez and three other food truck owners, have filed a lawsuit against the City of San Antonio, saying the 300 feet no vending rule is unconstitutional.

“In this country, and in San Antonio, we rely on people to decide who wins in the market place, not on someone in city hall to do so,” says Arif Panju, an attorney with the Institute for Justice.

The lawsuit has been filed by the Institute for Justice, it was served to the city today.

News 4 reached out to the city for comment and was told they have no comment at this time with the lawsuit pending. But the city did show us a letter written by the Institute for Justice back in May. The letter asks any food vendors in San Antonio who may have been interested in helping challenge the city.

The city tells News 4 the San Antonio Food Truck Association, through a vote by its board, declined to participate in this suit.

“All of these are manifestations of the same thing, San Antonio picking winners and losers in the  market place,” said Panju. “And its hurt entrepreneurs across the board. And if we prevail, every single food truck in the city will benefit. This is not just for them, this is for everyone. These people have just decided to step forward and fight for their economic liberty rights.

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