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Council Pushes Forward on Food Truck Ordinance

The City Council may allow food trucks to operate in Arcadia outside of special events.

The Arcadia City Council may soon lift its restrictions on food trucks in response to Socal Mobile Food Vendors Association claims that the city violated state law by not allowing food trucks to operate outside of special events.

The City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to introduce an ordinance allowing food trucks to operate on the public right-of-way; previously, food trucks could only set up shop at Santa Anita Park, the Arboretum or during special events.

The proposed ordinance, which the Council will vote on Nov. 6, is modeled after those passed in Long Beach and Manhattan Beach with some ground rules designed to protect local brick-and-mortar businesses.

Saying he feels the ordinance provides "no tangible benefits to Arcadia," Chamber of Commerce President Scott Hettrick argued the ordinance does not go far enough in shielding local businesses from the potential loss of customers.

"There is a good chance that the trucks may take away from what’s already here and be a net downside for local businesses that have long physical and financial investments and pay property taxes," he said.

Some restrictions set up by the ordinance to protect businesses and residents include:

  • Food trucks cannot park within 10 feet of the entrance to any business during said business' operating hours. 
  • Food trucks cannot operate after 10 p.m. in residential areas, and after midnight in commercial zones.
  • Food truck vendors must keep clean up all litter, and cannot dump any liquid on city streets.

Hettrick said the ordinance should also mandate that local businesses be included as an additional party insured by food trucks, impose a higher-priced business permit on mobile food vendors and restrict any large vehicle from parking within 100-feet of a business during certain hours.

Also, food trucks should be further than 10 feet away from a permanent restaurant selling similar products. For instance, a food truck selling tacos should be far away from a Mexican restaurant, Hettrick said.

Mayor Bob Harbicht told Hettrick former city laws regarding food trucks "were in direct violation of state law. We have to change it. We have to allow food trucks."

Arcadia recently became the target of a lawsuit filed by the SoCalMFVA, which claimed the city violated state law by essentially banning daily food truck operations.  So, in September, the city came up with a first draft of its new food truck ordinance in attempt to halt litigation.

"I think that having some smart regulations in place ..makes a lot of sense," Assistant Manager Jason Kruckeberg said. "We haven't had a lot of problems with (food trucks) in the area, so I think this ordinance is a good step."

Hettrick said he hopes the issue will simply solve itself.

"We hope there's not enough foot traffic to encourage food trucks," he said.

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