Cross-posted from the charlotteobserver.com.
With a slogan, "Carne Asada Is Not a Crime," the advocacy group Action NC launched an online petition calling for revisions to a Charlotte law that it says has forced many mobile food vendors out of business.
More than 117 people have signed the online petition, posted on www.change.org, on behalf of the mobile food vendors, also known as taco trucks or "loncheras."
The group has asked for revisions to some of the ordinance's requirements, including a 9 p.m. curfew and 400-foot buffer between mobile vendors and residential neighborhoods.
The vendors also say the 90-day limit on how long they can operate in one location is too strict and serves as a barrier to creating a sustainable customer relationship.
"Loncheras are small businesses trying to survive in the current bad economy," the petition states. "In an economic atmosphere where many are out of work, loncheras employ people locally. As hard-working taxpayers who pay for permits to do business, they help stimulate the local economy."
In 2008, Charlotte City Council approved the ordinance that limits where vendors can operate. City officials said they were not trying to get rid of taco trucks, but only protect concerned neighbors. East Charlotte residents complained that the vendors attracted traffic, litter and late-night loitering.
Before the ordinance was adopted, the group states, about 50 taco trucks operated in the Charlotte area, mostly Hispanic. Two years later, about seven remain open.