By Colleen Murphy | The GW Hatchet
The D.C. Council’s last-ditch effort to overhaul the city’s food truck regulations Tuesday may finally strike a compromise with the mobile eatery owners.
Earning unanimous approval from the council, the bill marks a turning point in the four-year-long struggle pitting truck operators against brick-and-mortar restaurant owners.
The bill, which paves the way for food trucks to become permanent sidewalk fixtures across D.C., will now sit on the desk of Mayor Vincent Gray for him to sign or veto by June 22.
As in past versions, the council’s bill calls for a monthly lottery to allow vendors to park in certain downtown areas. The Council’s amendments have shrunk the radius around designated vending zones from a first-suggested 500 feet to 200 feet, the DCist reported.
The Council’s version also requires trucks to only park in areas with six feet of unobstructed space instead of the originally proposed 10 feet. Another amendment, introduced by Council member and mayoral candidate Tommy Wells, lowered the fine for parking at an expired meter to $50, easing pressure off trucks that lose in the lottery.
Food truck owners mounted a fundraising and publicity campaign in April in the face of the proposed system that they claimed would undercut their businesses, and GW students spoke out against the original regulations last month at a seven-and-a-half-hour-long hearing.
The rules were first floated in March, and mark the city’s fourth attempt at a deal.
The approved regulations free the District’s more than 100 food trucks from “ice cream truck rules” that had required parked vendors to have a line of customers waiting for service at all times. Legislators had already approved portions of the regulations that addressed food safety and labor standards two weeks ago.