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Highlights of the Newly-Approved Food Truck Ordinance

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La Cocinita at the Superdome.
La Cocinita at the Superdome.
Photo: Facebook

Perhaps you heard the news, shouted yesterday from the city's rooftops, that the latest, greatest food truck ordinance?a much less-restrictive ordinance than the one previously vetoed by Mayor Mitch Landrieu?sailed through the New Orleans City Council, with six yeas, zero nays, and at least one very sincere, "Hallelujah." Cm. Stacy Head has good reason to be so relieved?after months of wrangling with the Louisiana Restaurant Association and nervous brick-and-mortar business owners in the CBD, food truck operators and their proponents finally have a working ordinance and can, as of right now, move forward with the business of slinging cheap food to the pedestrian masses.

The ordinance met with considerably less city council resistance during yesterday's vote, although Council President Jackie Clarkson once again tried to add a much-contested "proximity restriction" that would keep operating food trucks at least 100 feet away from brick-and-mortar restaurants, or, in the legalese of the council, 100 feet away from "the ingress or egress of any operating building or structure." No other council member, however, would second Clarkson's proposed amendment, not even erstwhile buffer-zone advocate Susan Guidry, who said during Thursday's vote that Clarkson's proposal went too far.

So what, exactly, does the current ordinance allow for? We're thrilled you asked. Here are the highlights, as per Bruce Eggler's coverage for the Times-Pic:

· The ordinance authorizes for 100 permits just for food trucks (currently, 100 permits are available for all types of mobile vendors, from vegetable sellers like Mr. Okra, to ice cream trucks and hot dog carts)

· Food trucks can now operate in two ways, either on their own or as franchises. A $400 annual permit gives a food trucker the ability to operate in most parts of the city (except the French Quarter) zone for commercial, industrial, or mixed use. Food truck owners will also be able to buy franchises to operate at specially-designated areas (this last part was a MAJOR bone of contention during yesterday's vote, which at one point descended into a semiotic symposium about the many meanings of the word "franchise").

· Food trucks can operate at any one location for a maximum of four hours, unless particular franchise agreements allow for longer operating hours.

· The Department of Public Works will recommend franchise fees, though those fees will be capped at $28,200-per-year.

· About the thorny franchise issue?each proposed franchise will get its very own city council debate (fun!), thus allowing neighbors of the proposed franchise site to raise their own individual concerns.

· Expansion of food trucks gets OK from New Orleans city council []
· All Food Truck Coverage [-ENOLA-]