DCRA rulemaking in action: Food trucks vs. BIDs

Photo courtesy of
‘my lobstah roll’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99’

Those of you who love food trucks (and who doesn’t, really?) have probably heard by now that there are some dealings afoot that would restrict where food trucks can park and potentially threaten the ability of food truck proprietors to operate.

The regulation in question is Title 24, Chapter 5 of the DC Code. Right now, most of those regulations pertain to stationary food carts, the ubiquitous hot dog stands. Aside from rule 516, which specifies that a mobile vendor can’t stay in one place longer than it takes to complete the transaction with a customer and that businesses like ice cream trucks that attract children have to park near crosswalks when possible, there’s just not that much attention paid to mobile vendors.

So DCRA has proposed a bunch of new rules that would, among other things, specifically accommodate mobile food trucks. Specifically, rule 556 (you’ll have to scroll a bit) formalizes the requirements that food trucks have to keep moving, have to have a line of customers, and have to park at least 60 feet from a stationary business selling the same type of food. Food truck vendors are all about having their existence enshrined in the DC code.

But some local BIDs and other restaurant associations, in their comments submitted to DCRA, are suggesting additional language and changes that would further protect their members from competition by food trucks. This is, after all, what BIDs do. The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s comments specifically seek to move all vendors more than 25 feet from the entrance of any licensed restaurant, not just those selling the same types of food. The Golden Triangle BID seems to want to get ANCs involved in the process that determines just what constitutes the “same type of food.”  This is what the Yes on Title 24 campaign has been about- not opposing the 60 foot rule, but preventing additional language from being introduced to serve the standalone restaurants at the expense of food trucks.

Helder Gil, the Legislative Assistant collecting comments from the general public, tells us he received 200+ emails in support of food trucks during the comment period. These will be uploaded once the Public Information Officer who handles that comes back from vacation. The public comment period is technically over, but comments continue to pour in.

UPDATED TO ADD: Gil says that DCRA will continue to accept public comments on these regulations, “at least until [his] email inbox melts down from the deluge.”

Tiffany Baxendell Bridge is an Internet enthusiast and an incurable smartass. When not heckling the neighborhood political scene on Twitter, she can be found goofing off with her ukulele, Bollywood dancing, or obsessing about cult TV. She is That Woman With the Baby In the Bar.

Tiffany lives in Brookland with her husband Tom, son Charlie, and two high-maintenance cats. Read why Tiffany loves DC.

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4 thoughts on “DCRA rulemaking in action: Food trucks vs. BIDs

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