Mayor Vincent Gray's proposed food truck regulations stir controversy
Some new proposals for food trucks in the nation's capital are cooking up a controversy.
Food truck owners say the city is trying to make doing business more difficult for them and the proposed new regulations would limit options for thousands of customers.
The food truck business is booming. Regular customers like the array of options, within a few parking spaces.
Vendors have free rein in the city. They go where the customers are.
"We have to have a vendor's permit and we are allowed to park in any parking spot as long as it is legal," says Sean Swartz of Cirque Cuisine.
Parking enforcement has been their biggest problem.
But Mayor Vincent Gray is proposing a slate of new regulations. Under his proposal, specific streets would be designated for food trucks.
The mayor also wants to limit the time they can operate.
"They are overdoing it," says Naceur Negra of the House of Falafel. "And I don't think government should be micro-managing businesses. Businesses should be able to pick up their spots and locations and if it's good, they stay. If not they move on."
The vendors fear the restrictions will take them away from their customers and drive down profits. But some say they know their free range of the District has to end.
"Regulation is gonna happen, sooner or later it's gonna have to happen," Swartz says.
The proposed new regulations come on the heels of a new 10 percent sales tax levied on food trucks October 1.
Keith Faust, a food truck customer says it will be fine to restrict the locations, because "people will still find them."
Some operators of food trucks say their biggest concern at this point is, if these rules are adopted, just where will the city allow them to park their food trucks.