Food Truck Ordinance On Its Way To Council Committee

Feb 14, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky’s second largest city has moved one step closer to establishing some ground rules for mobile food vendors to operate, even though the same sticking points between entrepreneurs  and brick and mortar restaurants remain to be worked out.  A work group assembled by Vice Mayor Linda Gorton has agreed on a draft ordinance which will be presented to a Council committee next week.

Credit Josh James

“The ordinance as its written will move forward in pieces.   The first half of the ordinance that clears the permitting hurdle will move forward, but food trucks will still not be allowed to operate on public property anywhere in Fayette County.”

Sean Tibbetts, director of the Blue Grass Food Trucks Association is clearly frustrated with the pace of progress.  But Gene Williams, who represents the interest of brick and mortar establishments, says restaurant and café owners have legitimate concerns that still need to be resolved.

“There’s resistance from the food industry as it stands because they are oversupplied right now.  This is just a natural tendency for people to protect their interests.  Food trucks want to be out everywhere, restaurants are worried.”

Councilmember  Shevawn Akers, who chairs the work group, says major issues between the two factions remain but the decision has been made to take what they have agreed on to the Economic Development Committee for consideration.

“I don’t think we’re ever going to make everyone 100% happy, and that’s what government is all about in my opinion.  Everybody has to give a little and so hopefully that will only take a few months, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes another year.”

Tibbetts says he’d like to get the impasse resolved before the weather warms up and people start congregating outdoors again.   But Williams says brick and mortar establishments remain concerned that food trucks will hurt their bottom line. 

The draft ordinance will be presented next Tuesday.