LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville’s food truck debate continued at Tuesday’s Public Works Committee meeting.
Metro Council is looking at proposed changes to the current ordinance that regulated food trucks and other mobile vendors. Past plans to create vending zones were harshly criticized by the food truck community. That plan was tossed out, and committee members are now reviewing a different ordinance option.
The proposed ordinance rewords and redefines much or the old ordinance, but there are some differences that food truck owners and some council members are still concerned over.
“I think a lot of this is a solution in search of a problem,” said Leah Stewart, the president of the Louisville Food Truck Association. “We’re just confused by the whole thing.”
Committee members started discussing changes in the ordinance at the last meeting in early June, which covered a lot about where food trucks and vendors can operate. So they moved on Tuesday to talk about not just where they can operate but how they should operate.
Part of that discussion included noise and safety standards for generators. Under the proposed ordinance, generators would have to fall under a specific noise range.
“Most of the trucks now do have quieter generators, because we’re standing inside there for four or five hours, and we don’t like it either," Stewart said. "So we have no objections to the 70 decibel standard for generators.”
The generators would also need to be attached to the food trucks in order to prevent potential safety hazards of generators sitting in the street next to the trucks. Stewart said this regulation is unnecessary.
“We are a little more concerned about having to mount generators on the trucks,” she said. “It changes the way the truck drives. The small generators are very vulnerable to theft. It’s just kind of a hassle that we don’t think is needed.”
The ordinance would also prohibit food trucks from parking 50 feet from gas stations or places that sell fireworks so that they limit the chances of any possible fires or explosions. One part of the ordinance Stewart is concerned about is that food trucks would also not be allowed to park in neighborhoods.
“When we want to go to a neighborhood, we think we’re catering,” Stewart said. “If you want to have a party and your house, and you want a food truck in your driveway, technically, the way this is written, we can’t do that.”
She added that some parts of the ordinance they are worried about were not addressed at Tuesday’s meeting, like neighborhood or office parking or continually feeding meters. The committee agreed to discuss the ordinance more at the next regularly scheduled meeting.
Food truck owners are also concerned the committee is not being transparent. According to a press release from the Institute for Justice, four council members are refusing to turn over thousands of documents using the words "food trucks" or "restaurants" as part of an open records request, backed by the state attorney general. The managing attorney for IJ suggested the push for new food truck rules should be put on hold, because council members are violating Kentucky's open records act.
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