Really, what the crap, Louisville? Why is it we’re allowing Lexington and New Albany (really, flipping Indiana!?) to trump us on the food truck scene?
Why are we bogged down in silly ordinances that make it nearly impossible for super-clean, innovative and healthy food trucks to do business in this town?
The local food scene is abuzz lately with the myriad ways in which Metro Government is apparently trying to make it impossible for these folks to operate. Lil Cheezers, for instance, has been quite vocal on Facebook about obstacles they face while trying to conduct business in Louisville. And others are beginning to speak up.
Our favorite (we’re invested) Morels Food Truck isn’t really wading into the fray, but they’re encountering city problem after city problem that everyone else faces. As a result, they’ve started selling their products in local retail outlets until things can be ironed out. (How’s that for entrepreneurial spirit?)
The buffalo “chicken” wrap available at places like Rainbow Blossom and Heine Bros blows our mind on the tasty scale. And it’s rather healthy and vegan. (See? Food trucks aren’t just deep-fried pits of awful – they’re healthy and delicious outlets of awesome.)
While Greg Fischer’s staff are tepidly examining ways in which city codes need to be adjusted, it’s time for the Metro Council to do the same. It’s time for some Democrats and Republicans to come together to make it possible for Louisville to join the 20th century. (We’ll work on the 21st later)
There are lots of crazy pieces of city code floating around and many within Metro Government can’t tell us what is and is not applicable to mobile food trucks. But there are a few that just boggle our mind.
Take, for instance, some code that could apply to mobile vendors that want to serve, say, on a stationary basis in a parking lot somewhere. Look at the craziness that’s involved:
115.356 LICENSE APPLICATION
C) In addition to written application, a stationary vendor on private property shall provide the following:
1. A notarized written authorization from the business owner to conduct the applicant’s business at the place so noted on the application.
2. A drawing of a scale not greater than 50 feet per inch and not less than 10 feet per inch, which drawing shall depict the following information:
a. The portion of the property to be occupied by the vending operation;
b. The portion of the property to be used for automobile parking and the number of automobiles accommodated in said area;
c. The locations of driveways providing ingress and egress to the property;
d. The location of existing building and structures located on the property noting the use of each building or structure so identified.
Mind boggled? There’s more:
115.359 PRIVATE PROPERTY STATIONARY VENDOR STANDARDS
C) No vehicle, other conveyance or temporary stand shall be a closer than four hundred (400) feet from any other vending operation, and there shall be a minimum of four hundred (400) feet separation from any residential use or residential zoning district. The distance shall be measured as the shortest distance between the nearest point of the vending facility to the closest residential property line or district.
D) No vehicle, other conveyance or temporary stand shall be located closer than twenty (20) feet from any building or structure on the licensed property or adjoining property.
G) Vending operations shall provide a minimum of two parking spaces. Vendor shall not locate in any minimum required parking space for other businesses on the site. Parking spaces may not be shared with other uses on the site. If enough parking cannot be provided, the use may not be located on the site.
I bring this up because some folks in Metro say they apply to food trucks, some say they don’t. No one seems to have solid answers.
And when mobile vending is actually mentioned? Hoo, boy. Just… Well, just take a look:
115.360 MOBILE VENDOR STANDARDS
B) No mobile vendor shall sell or vend from his or her vehicle or conveyance within one thousand (1000) feet of any public or private school grounds during the hours of regular school session, classes, or school related events in said public or private school, except when authorized by said school.
C) No mobile vendor shall sell or vend from his or her vehicle or conveyance within three hundred (300) feet of the entrance to any business establishment offering as a main featured item or items similar products for sale which is open for business.
D) No mobile vendor shall sell or vend from his or her vehicle or conveyance within three hundred (300) feet of any restaurant, cafe, or eating establishment which is open for business.
F) No mobile vendor shall park, stand, stop or allow a vehicle to remain in any place than is necessary to transact immediate business. In no event shall the operation stand longer than fifteen (15) minutes in any given location. At the exception of the fifteen (15) minutes, a mobile vendor must begin moving to a location at least two hundred fifty (250) feet from the first location.
H) No mobile vendor shall conduct business within three hundred (300) feet of any hospital, or building used for religious worship when services are being conducted therein.
Vendors can’t park in a fixed location for more than 15 minutes – but it could take them 30 minutes to prepare secured equipment and another 30 minutes to lock things down before moving. Does that make sense? It’s not like these operations are ice cream trucks (which can’t operate after dark, anyway).
The trucks can’t operate on private property – even at the request of the property owner – without a written and notarized application with a hand-drawn rendering of the property. And, according to some, they can’t operate at that location for more than 14 days and then can’t return for up to 30 days.
What the hell?
This can’t be Possibility City when we’re implementing ordinances (as recent as 2009) that kill food options. I mean, what sense does it make to try to nourish the food deserts in the West and South Ends when these folks can’t even get their healthy and affordable options into the hands of the hungry?
Jim King? Kelly Downard? Tina Ward-Pugh? Tom Owen? You awake?