If passed, new ordinance could put food trucks on the road

If passed, new ordinance could put food trucks on the road

SPOKANE, Wash. - Your favorite food truck in Spokane could so be on the move if the city adopts a new ordinance to regulate them.

"You look at Portland, look at Seattle and their experience with food trucks, we hope we have the same kind of vitality with our mobile food vending industry," Associate City Planner Andrew Worlock said.

But some of the proposal has truck owners calling for change and that parts of the ordinance are unconstitutional.

"We're happy that the city is being pro-active and that they want to create an environment for food trucks to be here," Joile Forral, the President of the Greater Spokane Food Truck Assoc., said. "It's just that we feel like the rules they are trying to pass are not what they need to be."

The proposed ordinance would require a permit to operate within the city limits. The application fee is $40, but to add additional locations, it's an extra $10.

"They want the fees to be as low as possible as do we," Warlock said. "We just need to kind of settle on the proper way to charge the fee."

A real sticking point in the debate, trucks can't park within 75 feet of a restaurant unless they have consent from the restaurant owner.

"If I own a restaurant in downtown Spokane and invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in that location, somebody pulling up on the street that's mobile, really is going to have to stay 75 feet away from it unless they get permission from that restaurant owner," Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart said.

The Institute for Justice, however says that portion is unconstitutional. The organization sent a letter to the city in which they wrote, "protecting established businesses from competition is an unconstitutional and illegitimate use of government power."

Wednesday afternoon both sides met to find middle ground. The city will review comments and hope to have something presented before council in the next two weeks.