Jacksonville loves its food trucks.
Minutes after a petition to protect food trucks that sell in Downtown Jacksonville was posted Tuesday on the Internet, hundreds of people had signed. Within an hour, it was thousands.
The outpouring was in reaction to legislation drafted by City Council member Reggie Brown to more closely regulate food trucks Downtown.
Brown’s draft requires food trucks to obtain a city license and allows vending only in commercial and industrial zones. Also, food trucks would not be allowed within 300 feet of a home or of a business selling similar food.
Under existing ordinances, food vendors must already locate within 100 feet of a restroom facility and cannot sell within 500 feet of a city park without a permit.
Brown called a meeting for 3 p.m. today in council chambers to take suggestions on the proposal. But by Tuesday night, some of that reaction had
“I’m not against food trucks. I’m pro food trucks,” Brown said. “I’m a patron of several of the food trucks we have Downtown.”
Some Downtown restaurant owners have told Brown they felt the food trucks diverted business from them. Brown said until Downtown foot traffic picks up, there may not be enough business for everyone.
“We cannot afford for folks like Quiznos and The Brick leave Downtown, and we can’t give them free rent,” he said. “We’ve got to find some way to not discourage the folks that are trying to hold on until Downtown becomes vibrant.
“I think the food trucks can coexist,” Brown added, “but we need to create some distance between them.”
He said the city already has rules for food vendors, but food trucks are not clearly defined and neither are the guidelines that govern their operation.
Brown said he wanted better clarification after seeing one
business sell food out of a single axle trailer without a city
He said his legislation is based on similar ordinances in Seattle and Kansas.