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Food truck debate rolls into Chapel Hill

Posted October 17, 2011

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— Two weeks after rules went into effect allowing food trucks to operate in downtown Raleigh, the Chapel Hill Town Council is considering similar regulations.

Under a proposed ordinance up for a public hearing Monday night at Town Hall, food trucks would be allowed to serve from private lots in Chapel Hill as long as both the truck operator and lot owner had a town permit. Also, the truck would have to be more than 100 feet from any open restaurant.

Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt said he believes the Town Council is open to food trucks but that various interests need to be balanced.

"There is a whole array (of issues) when it comes to health and safety, as well as taxation and the impact on existing businesses," Kleinschmidt said. "We are really proud of our food culture, and the food truck phenomenon is certainly of interest to many of us."

Brian Bottger, owner of Only Burger in Durham, said business from his food trucks has been so sizzling that he opened a restaurant in Durham. Still, he is always looking for new locations for his trucks, and he said Chapel Hill would be appetizing.

Food truck Chapel Hill eyes rules for food trucks

"It's another market. You know we are in the business to sell burgers," Bottger said.

He said he fears that permitting by location in Chapel Hill could be burdensome because trucks need flexibility in finding locations that work. Only Burger tries to pick locations like Morrisville office parks where there is no restaurant close by.

"The reality is, the truck is not a restaurant and is not trying to compete with restaurants," he said.

The Town Council isn't expected to vote on the proposed ordinance until next year.


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  • uncfan89 Oct 19, 2011

    MrD3, yes mechanical refrigeration is also required on these vehicles. There are ones out there that I would have no problem eating from and others that meet the minimum requirements that I would even think about eating anything from. But the same goes for a lot of restuarants that I have been in also. An inspection is what we observe while we are in the facility things can be fine on the day we are there and go to heck the next day! You have to make the decision on what and where you eat and there is always a risk. I always thought competition was a good thing! People who eat from food trucks do it for convenience I don't think that restuarants have much to worry about. People headed out for a sit down meal won't be tempted to stop and grab a burger or burrito.

  • davidvanwagener Oct 18, 2011

    @itsnews2me "Hurry, the "Occupy Chapel Hill" protesters are starving!"

    Chapel Hill is already occupied.

  • meeper Oct 18, 2011

    The food vendors need to learn how to deal with the Chapel Hill city government. Let them confiscate half of your profits and then you won't have problem. This should be a no brainer.

  • airbornemonty Oct 18, 2011

    Food truck vendors have as much right to provide a service as a restaurant so why not let them provide that service.

    If I am on my way to lunch and deside that today I'm having lunch in a restaurant I will simply walk past any food truck that might be there and enter the restaurant, it is my choice and it is as simple as that.

    The restaurant owners chief complaint about the food trucks is that they, the restaurnt owners, have become greedy so they will do anything to discredit the food truck service.

  • dryjr Oct 18, 2011

    I thouhgt competition was good. How can the govt. decide what is fair and unfair. It's food people should have the choice the rest wiil work out.NYC has ahd these for a hundred years and I see plenty of Dining establishments there.

  • turkeydance Oct 18, 2011

    +1 warcraft. 100 feet to the right plus 100 to the left
    and 100 in front and 100 behind. in CH city limits?
    not with a public parking lot and not on government
    or university property.

  • Mr. D3 Oct 18, 2011

    If the trucks have been around for 20 years+ (uncfan89)very sanitary and don't harm other businesses why aren't they already allowed in CH? Takes intellect not party affiliate to figure that out.

  • warcraft27513 Oct 18, 2011

    UNCfan 89, no mention of refrigeration in your tutorial, anyway it's unfair to restaurants who pay much more to have a business dwelling. Whatever go enjoy that week old burrito out of a 1976 GMC panel truck.-Mr. D3

    So what your saying is that just because restaurants pay rent for a business dwelling, private owners should just give up their dream of having their own business. You must be a Republican.

  • Mr. D3 Oct 18, 2011

    UNCfan 89, no mention of refrigeration in your tutorial, anyway it's unfair to restaurants who pay much more to have a business dwelling. Whatever go enjoy that week old burrito out of a 1976 GMC panel truck.

  • warcraft27513 Oct 18, 2011

    Is it even possible to park a food truck on Franklin St so that it's more than 100 feet away from a restaurant?......lol