We recently received word from The Taco Truck that the City of Hoboken drafted an ordinance that seems intended to drive food trucks out of town. Athos from Two Pitas In A Pod told is it passed the Hoboken City Council last night on the first reading.
According the The Taco Truck, “It has become apparent to us that the City of Hoboken is doing its best to marginalize the food trucks and make it impossible for us to conduct business. We understand the need to put an ordinance in place that regulates the food trucks and mandates certain requirements that protect our customers, this is long overdue, but this ordinance goes well beyond that.”
The Taco Truck posted an even longer letter to their fans on facebook that explained the details of the ordinance that just passed. In addition to fees in excess of $3,500 per year, food trucks would not be able to park within 75 feet of a brick and mortar restaurant, and could not park in Hoboken for more than 6 hours per day. That means food trucks could not park somewhere for lunch, then move and park somewhere else in Hoboken for dinner.
From what we have read over the past year or two, it’s not too hard to figure out a plan where restaurants and food trucks can peacefully coexist. It happened this year in Seattle, Cleveland, and a bunch of other places. All you need are politicians who aren’t in the pocket of local restaurateurs and landlords.
Click through for the full text of The Taco Truck’s letter.
Dear Hoboken Truck Fans,
It has become apparent to us that the City of Hoboken is doing its best to marginalize the food trucks and make it impossible for us to conduct business. We understand the need to put an ordinance in place that regulates the food trucks and mandates certain requirements that protect our customers, this is long overdue but this ordinance goes well beyond that.
We have been hopeful that the Councilwoman Giattino, Councilman Mello and Parking Director Saacs would provide the much needed leadership to draft an ordinance that treats the trucks in a fair and equitable way. This hasn’t been the case and it is very clear to us that this proposed ordnance is nothing more than a way to protect the interests of brick and mortar restaurants and their landlords.
If this ordinance passes in its current form it will no longer be viable for us to continue our regular services in Hoboken. Hoboken is where it all started for us and thanks to our loyal customers we were able to put down roots and open a restaurant. Why wouldn’t the city promote this kind of entrepreneurship?
The problem with this ordinance isn’t the fees that will be significantly raised from $500/yr to upwards of $3,500/yr, although Jersey CIty is drafting an ordinance that has maximum fees of $500/yr. It also isn’t the GPS requirement. It comes down to two points that make this nothing more that a way to force food trucks out of Hoboken.
First is the requirement to be 75 feet from brick and mortar restaurants. The ordinance reads:
“This Chapter limits the proximity of Mobile Food Trucks to brick and mortar restaurants to secure safe and adequately spaced sidewalks in case of a fire, flood, and other natural or manmade disaster;”
How does this condition not exist in front of any building in Hoboken? When we challenged Councilwoman Giattino on this point she responded by saying that the city attorney said this was ok because restaurants have kitchens and have an increased chance of fire. OK…that makes sense except for the fact that all residential buildings have kitchens in them. Some apartment buildings have hundreds of kitchens in them. If the reasoning is to mitigate this potential hazard then food trucks couldn’t park in front of any building that has a kitchen. The fact is that this 75ft requirement is in place to protect brick and mortar restaurants.
The other issue with this ordinance is that food trucks are allowed a maximum of 6 hours in Hoboken with the additional Parking Permit Extended Time Endorsement. If a food truck parks at 11am for lunch service they must be out of any parking spot in Hoboken by 5pm. This means that food trucks can only do one service in Hoboken. Why would any food truck owner choose to vend in Hoboken with this restriction?
We hope that clear heads will prevail and the city will find a way to balance the interests of all the stakeholders involved. We also hope that the city council recognizes that enacting a protectionist ordinance does nothing to serve the interests of its citizens at large but rather a small group of connected restaurant owners and landlords with loud voices.
The Taco Truck