Food Trucks Could be Allowed Downtown

The City Council and Planning Commission heard few public comments Tuesday about a change to loosen food truck regulations — a stark difference from a year ago when the topic generated controversy.

A new law could allow food trucks to operate on private lots in downtown Raleigh.

At the joint public hearing with the City Council and Planning Commission Tuesday evening, only two people spoke in favor of the change, while none spoke against.

If approved, the change in the ordinance would allow two food trucks on lots that are one-half acre or less, three trucks on lots between one-half and one acre and four trucks on lots greater than one acre but not two acres.

There is no maximum on lots that are larger than two acres.

Today, food trucks are not allowed to operate in the Downtown Overlay District, which covers most of Downtown Raleigh, with the exception of the Glenwood South to Hillsborough Street.

This change would allow food trucks to operate in all parts of downtown.[media-credit name="Photo Credit: Kitkabbit" align="alignright" width="300"][/media-credit]

Food trucks would still have to park on private business property and that business must have its own permit to host a truck. The truck must be at least 100 feet away from the main entrance of any brick-and-mortar restaurant or outdoor dining area and 50 feed from any food cart.

Since becoming legal in Raleigh, the city has issued almost 20 food truck permits and only one citation. The recipient of that violation filed the proper paperwork and began working soon after.

At the six-month review, city planner Greg Hallam said staff has not seen any negative impacts as a result of food trucks.

Raleigh's most public food truck advocate Mike Stenke, owner of Klausie's Pizza, was one of two people who spoke in favor of the change.

Stenke said he became part of the Raleigh food truck movement not long after he started his business. Since then he has been able to hire people and has seen other trucks start up.

"I would love to see more of that happening," he said.

He added that the change in the ordinance would still respect the original issues that were raised, but allow for more entrepreneurial growth.

Philly's Cheesesteak owner Damian Mescanti opened his truck up this summer and said it has been nothing but a positive impact.

"I don't want to go to Durham," he said, indicating he wants to continue doing business in Raleigh.

What's Next
The Planning Commission will review the ordinance before sending a recommendation to the City Council for final approval.

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