Santa Monica resists nouveau food trucks

Posted by Cyrus Farivar on October 30, 2009

Nope, it’s not just oppressive Los Angeles that wants to fight the newest, twittering generation of taco and food trucks. Sadly, it’s my hometown, Santa Monica.

This coastal outpost of liberalism is upset about these new trucks, as big business on the Third Street Promenade — or rather, the businesses parent association, the Bayside District Corporation — says that the trucks should have to pay to do business in this high foot-traffic area. At the corporation’s October 22 meeting, boardmembers were regaled with a presentation by the local police department on “Food Vending Truck ordinances and enforcement options.”

If the title alone didn’t suggest that there was much warm-and-fuzziness between the likes of Bayside and trucks like Nom Nom, the Santa Monica Daily Press provided an account that wasn’t exactly encouraging, either.

“I think if these people benefit from the Bayside District, they should have to pay for it,” said Barbara Bryan, a board member who owns the Interactive Cafe on Broadway, in an interview with the paper.

Of course, as the paper notes, all the trucks that operate in Santa Monica must have a vendor permit from the local police department and a business license from the city to operate legally. City ordinance allows them to conduct business in a parking spot, but they must move 100 feet every 30 minutes. Further, they have to be at least “10 feet away from the entrance, doors, vestibules, driveways and outdoor dining areas of any business,” according to the newspaper.

Gary Gordon, the executive director of the nearby Main Street Business Improvement Association, was a bit more blunt in his statement to the paper: “We would like to get rid of them.”

Hoo boy, this will sure get interesting.

  1. Lexica Said,

    As an Oaklander, where many of the trucks seem to never move, the idea of trucks having to move 100 feet every 30 minutes is very odd to me. That seems like it would increase the chance of accident and injury far more than if a truck stayed parked for two or three hours over lunch.

    I wonder if that kind of data even exists — number of injuries within X feet of a taco truck, comparing localities where the trucks don’t have to move with ones where they do.

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