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Charlotte Food Truck Vendors Keep Moving Forward

So, this has been a great week for our Mobile Food Vendors campaign. Acting on advice from a trusted ally, our Mobile Food Vendors Association chapter went before the Charlotte City Council this past Monday, June 6th and spoke about why we want the city council to amend the mobile food vendors ordinance.

The ordinance states that a mobile food vendor may not be within 400 feet from a home; must close by 9pm; and may only be in a specific location for no more than 90 days. As you can imagine, these types of restrictions put many food vendors out of business. The hours and locations of operation are what used to make mobile food vendors successful. The sections in the ordinance that deal with duration in a particular location are also too strict and needlessly create a barrier to building a sustainable clientele. As a matter of fact, some of our vendors even had to move their small businesses to other cities, in order to survive.

Pedro Pozos spoke about how his business went down and he is generating less income, since the passage of the ordinance. He asked the city council members present to please reconsider and let him and his colleagues work and provide for their families.

Manuel Gaucin spoke about his family hardships. According to Manuel, he and his wife are having problems paying their house and car payment, on account of less income. He spoke about how he had to move his business to Mississippi and how the restrictions there also made it hard for him to generate enough income to provide for his family. He now has to drive about an hour each day to and from Hickory NC, to keep his truck open.

We then spoke about crime statistics. According to statistics that come off of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's own website, there is less crime where our mobile food vendors are located than in some of our more affluent communities. We also spoke about the noise at bars and restaurants in these communies and explained that our vendors do not sell alcohol nor make noise. This seemed to get the attention of one of the Republican council members. As soon as he heard this, he smiled and began taking notes.

In the end, on a vote of 6-5, the Charlotte City Council saw this as a small business issue and moved it to the Economic Development Committee.

We also met with a neighborhood association on the side of town that has been most opposed to mobile food vendors. It was a great meeting and some really wonderful ideas came out of it. We are on the path to getting support from this neighborhood association. We will hopefully, be meeting again soon and working out the details of what that support could look like. Let's hope we can organize more meetings like that one.

Another great development is that the CNN article we have all been waiting for finally got posted on cnn.com. To view it, go to http://cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2011/06/09/food.trucks.fight.cnn