Yuba City, Calif., is becoming the latest in a series of central California cities taking up the issue of regulation of mobile vending, reports the local county paper, the Appeal-Democrat. As the seat of Sutter County, it sits about 43 miles due north from Sacramento.
The local city council will take up the issue of mobile vending as it pertains to stands, taco trucks and other types of food trucks at the meeting tonight.
For the last few months, mobile vendors, established brick and mortar restaurants and others have met and will present the city council with their findings. The city council, in turn, is expected to give its recommendations for a new city ordinance.
As the paper reports:
Paul Kaiser, owner of Fat Daddy’s, understands concerns related to mobile vendors, but when cities govern and manage too much, it stifles free enterprise, he said.
If the council enacts an ordinance based on discussions he’s been a part of, mobile vending may not be allowed on public property, Kaiser said. Vendors would need permission from a private property owner and must get approval from similar businesses in a certain radius.
“If McDonald’s wants to open across from Carl’s Jr., they don’t go over to Carl’s Jr. and ask them if it’s all right,” Kaiser said. “Any rational person knows nine times out of 10 nobody is going to say ‘Yeah, come and open up.’”
If the city takes that approach, any new restaurant should have to ask for nearby vendors’ approval, he said.
“If it’s going to be good for the goose, make it good for the gander,” he said.
The city council agenda devotes six pages to the issue in a memo drafted by Aaron Busch, the community development director. He describes that a series of three meetings were held by three street vendors and three brick-and-mortars as a means to advise the city on mobile vending.
According to the memo, city ordinances do not define mobile vending very well, as it does not distinguish between public/private vending, nor does it distinguish the various types of vending possible.
This group agreed that carts and “food wagons” (taco trucks) should have to move 400-1,000 feet every 30 minutes, but will not be required to have a planning department permit.
Interestingly, the agenda also contains the first comparative table of mobile vending in Northern California that I’ve ever seen. I’ve reproduced it here (click for a larger version):
We’ll see how this one plays out.