Ron Littlepage: Don’t crush our swagger; Leave Jacksonville’s Food Trucks Alone – News – The Florida Times-Union

Food trucks are helping Jacksonville cool off.

Councilor Reggie Brown better not screw this up.

Take a look at cities that have places taking place – Austin springs to mind – and food trucks likely add to the upbeat atmosphere.

Thanks to a growing number of innovative entrepreneurs, Jacksonville’s food trucks have become like gangbusters, and wherever they’re set up, especially downtown, people are out and about to enjoy what they have to offer.

But what Brown sees is a regulatory vacuum, so he’s working on laws that would set rules for food trucks.

When it got out, about 200 people came to town hall last week, most of them there, to let Brown know his idea was bad.

They interpreted the proposed restrictions to mean that the operation of the food trucks became nearly impossible.

A question asked several times was: Why legislation at all?

State health regulations already apply to food trucks, and that should be enough.

Let’s be honest Jacksonville has managed to take advantage of opportunities before, like letting off a large theme park that would have brought tourists to town.

And then there were the botched efforts to locate the Coastal School of Law downtown, which would have been a big boost to revitalization.

With efforts like One Spark, a growing arts scene, specialty brew pubs, and new entertainment and eateries in downtown and other parts of the city, the last thing we need is a fatal kick in the pants of the food trucks.

Some downtown sandwich shops are complaining that the food trucks are affecting their business.

As several speakers pointed out last week, we speak of competition. Beat the food trucks by making a better sandwich.

Also, food trucks bring people downtown when they are there, which will help other businesses.

The Downtown Investment Authority recognizes this.

When Brown’s bill became a hot topic, the agency passed a resolution backing the food trucks and the liveliness they bring to downtown.

This is how ridiculous some food truck regulations can be.

One would need easy access to a toilet.

I doubt this is a high priority for a food truck customer, and it’s interesting that the city has this concern for food trucks when the city doesn’t provide toilets in city parks where they are really needed .

Another proposed regulation would prevent food trucks from driving in residential areas.

So you want a food truck to host a private party at your home? Forget it.

Brown told the crowd – I especially liked the guy who said, “I’m involved in this because I’m a fat boy and I like to eat” – that he’s a fan of food trucks.

He said he would set up an interested party committee to go through the proposed legislation and improve it.

That shouldn’t take long. Away with it.

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