Raleigh's food truck ordinance gets mixed reviews
Posted September 7, 2011 4:19 p.m. EDT
Updated September 7, 2011 8:31 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance that will allow food trucks to set up on private property, effective Oct. 1.
The 6-2 vote is drawing a mixed response from food truck operators, who welcome the move, and restaurant owners, who say they are concerned about how it might affect business.
"We had other hopes for the decision," said Parker Kennedy, who owns Caffe Luna in downtown Raleigh.
Although he welcomes food trucks in Raleigh, he says he would prefer that they not set up outside established downtown restaurants.
"It's a zero-sum game. If somebody eats at a food truck, then they're not going to eat at a brick-and-mortar restaurant," Kennedy said. "Instead of having 80 restaurants, now we may have 120 restaurants."
There are some restrictions.
Food trucks must have a permit and be be at least 100 feet from the main entrance or outdoor dining area of restaurants and at least 50 feet away from any food-vending cart.
They also will be allowed to operate from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily but must close at 10 p.m. if they are near residential areas.
The City Council will take another look at the ordinance in six months to see how it is doing.
Still, for food truck owners, this is the news they were looking for.
Brian Bottger, who owns the Only Burger food truck, which frequents North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus, says food truck owners have wanted to operate in downtown but haven't because they aren't clear on the rules.
"It's a good day, and it expands our market a bit," he said. "It allows us to come to Raleigh with confidence."