Wiener’s Food Truck Legislation Passes-More Mobile Food Fare for the Castro?

FOOD-TRUCK-GRAPHICSupervisor Scott Wiener’s long road to a brokered peace between brick and mortar SF eateries and the City’s ever-growing, mobile gastronomic canteen operators and defining new, more complete and clear mobile food rules and regs was passed by the Board of Supes on Tuesday.

The legislation first introduced in November 2012 by District 8′s Supervisor has been melded, mutated and amended several times as all parties who met under the truce of a white flag to birth a legal definition of what would best serve all business owners, great and small, involved.

Food trucks are ruled by San Francisco’s Public Works, Planning and Transportation codes which had large ‘gaps’ that had been causing strife and debate.  Now amended via Wiener’s legislation define a large number of variables.

Rules include limiting the number of food trucks in Downtown at one time, keeping them at bay at least 75 feet from any brick and mortar restaurant. Rules were also changed to require any mobile food vendor that would like to change a location they serve, add a new location or change hours to serve after 8 p.m. will now require a brand new permit.

Mmmm..tacos at Dolores Park!

Mmmm..tacos at Dolores Park!

Also targeted by the new regulations limiting vendors to serving one location no more than three-day a week and prohibit trucks from taking up more than two parking spaces.

Schools have also been incorporated into the lengthy legislation. Trucks and street vendors are verboten within 500 feet of any public middle school or junior high school (previously 1,500 feet) during the week and within 1,000 feet of a high school. All food purveyors also now are subject to the 2004 initiated SF formula retail law.

Mr. Wiener released a statement via his office that said, in part:

“Food trucks are an exciting and vibrant part of our City’s food scene, but the rules around the permitting process have been cumbersome, unpredictable and unfair to both food truck operators and brick-and-mortar restaurant owners. This legislation establishes a more balanced framework for ensuring a diverse and thriving food culture in our City.”

Castro's Creme Burlee Cart

Castro’s Creme Brulee Cart

Critics have said these mass number of new rules and City edicts over reach and feel that they may whittle down the number of food trucks. The stress of keeping up with all the new rules, developing new clients at new locals from having to move each week and purchasing new permits are cost prohibitive to some start-up, local, small business owners.

Time will tell if that’s true or not. For now the Castro’s beloved and popular Creme Brulee Truck could soon see some competition near Jane Warner Plaza. Dolores Park’s warm day nibbles will certainly expand from high-end tacos and the odd aluminum cooked bacon hot dog slathered in mayo and weed cookie purveyor to any number of munchies as the new parameters around food trucks and carts are put into effect.

Waiyde Palmer

Waiyde Palmer loves San Francisco, social activism and punk rock(ers). His work has appeared in Handbook Magazine. SF Bay Times, The Advocate, Diseased Pariah News and American Music Press . He also has an extensive and repeatedly redacted FBI file.

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4 Responses

  1. Sanchez Resident says:

    I think the 75 feet rule is interesting. I just imagine someone walking by a brick and mortar restaurant and trying to decide if they go into the place they standing in front of or do they walk 75 feet to order from the food truck. Has anyone had this dilemma and what did you do?

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    • Derek SF says:

      I think there are a lot of factors that come in to play such as price, menu selection, if you’re in a hurry or want table service, and how long the wait is.

      Each has their advantages and disadvantages, and some brick and mortar businesses will need to step up if they want to compete, e.g. daily specials and to go service.

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    • Derek SF says:

      We had the Bao Bun Truck and a few others in the Castro in the past until I believe it was Andy Orphans who reported them. If the line wasn’t too bad, I walked the 75 feet because it was something different to try.

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    • rblack says:

      I think in a commercial corridor it would be hard to find a place to park a food truck that wasn’t within 75ft of a restaurant. However, like with anything my choice would depend on a number of factors.

      I think these are good changes. Both sides are making sacrifices and having specific rules so everyone has clarity can only be a good thing. Glad a compromise could be reached.

      Food trucks are a great addition to the city and a great way to start a small business, but the brick and mortar restaurants deserve some protections as well.

      Good legislation from Wiener.

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