The Jersey City City Council tonight tabled a measure proposing sweeping changes to the city’s ordinance regulating food trucks and pushcarts, after numerous food vendors called the proposals too restrictive and possibly unconstitutional.
The new regulations would require the portable vendors to stay at least 300 feet away from brick-and-mortar eateries and 100 feet away from other portable vendors.
Those stipulations rankled Deepika Peters, whose father runs the Taste of India food truck.
“There is a restaurant on every corner in Jersey City, and its very impossible to stay 300 feet from a restaurant,” Peters, 30, told the council tonight.
Francesca Saldana, whose husband James sells hot dogs and other items out of a pushcart in Journal Square, objects to a portion of the new measure that requires vendors to submit to criminal background checks.
“These are very, very unbelievable infringements on the Fourth Amendment,” Saldana told The Jersey Journal. “[Does] a pizza guy, the deli guy, the McDonald’s crew person … go through a criminal background check before they can get a job?”
The changes would also allow a portable food vendor to remain in one spot for an hour, maximum. Current ordinance, which vendors say is haphazardly enforced, requires pushcarts to move every 20 minutes and food carts to move every 40 minutes.
Jason Scott, who operates The Taco Truck as well as a brick-and-mortar business of the same name in Hoboken, called the measure “the most prohibitive ordinance I’ve ever seen.”
It takes 30 minutes to set up his truck, Scott said, and the new regulations would leave only 30 minutes selling and cooking time before he would have to move on to another location.
“How will this be enforced?” Scott asked. “Will someone be using a stopwatch?”
Councilwoman Viola Richardson suggested the committee tasked with drawing up the ordinance add one of the vendors as a member before making changes.