Future of food trucks in question

July 14, 2012 3:13:53 PM PDT
Where else can you find sausage, dumplings, ice cream, and pizza all in one place?

Saturday in Durham at the Food Truck Mashup.

The mashup is a gathering of several local food trucks all parked in one centralized location for patrons to come and enjoy a sampling of everything.

"You get the gourmet style food for a lower price, and this is a great opportunity to try food trucks," food truck patron Christina Bradbury said.

But if local lawmakers have their way, it may be more difficult for food truck operators to find a place to park. On Monday, city leaders heard reaction to keep the trucks away from restaurants and special events.

After a year of research and email feedback, the city came up with new rules that could establish buffer zones around the farmer's market, which is traditionally a food truck friendly area, and limit parking.

They could also require trucks, carts and pop up stands to park at least 50 feet away from an existing restaurant and 300 feet from permitted special events.

"They're making rules to benefit and protect the restaurants but that in turn goes against what we're trying to do. It's a little unfair that one has support and restrictions to work against the other," food truck operator Becky Cascio said.

Some restaurant owners have complained that the mobile food vendors take away business from storefronts, but some patrons disagree.

"Most of the food truck drivers respect the territory and the space. They're not going to pull right up and serve people," food truck patron Christina Serafino said.

City officials claim the proposals would also improve pedestrian and public safety. If approved, the new rules could begin in the fall.

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