9:17pm

Tue May 14, 2013
Lexington/Richmond

Food Truck Plan Goes Before Parking Authority

A modification in a compromise over Lexington’s Food Truck proposal is in the works.  The pilot project gets another review tomorrow morning.  The six month pilot project, allows food truck vendors to set up in designated downtown zones during the day.  Since they’ll be in metered parking spots, the Lexington Parking Authority must first approve.  But, as Council member Diane Lawless explains, there could be a lot of competition over the best spots.  “I’m not clear about what was decided about those spaces.  Is it first come, first serve, etc.  And that certainly is a very big issue if the Parking Authority does permit these,” said Lawless.

During a meeting Tuesday, the president of the Lexington Center Corporation asked the city to maintain the food truck ban near Rupp Arena. Bill Owen says six food vendors inside the Lexington Center could feel a financial pinch.

“My concern is that food trucks at the very front of Heritage Hall between Jefferson Street and Felix between seven a.m. and ten p.m. are gonna be counter productive to the sustainability of those businesses,” said Owen.

Owen’s concerns echo those expressed by the owners of other downtown restaurants….who worry food trucks offer unfair competition.  Still, Shevawn Akers, who chaired the panel that penned the compromise, indicates some changes could be made near the Lexington Center.

“Because I think that it’s not a highly trafficked area, I think that it’s a zone that the food truck owners would not mind giving up.  I think the council members on the work group would also agree to removing that zone, so I have no problem with that,” added Akers.

The compromises and proposed changes will be discussed again next Tuesday by the Council, with an initial vote tentatively set for May 23rd. The Parking Authority Board meets Thursday to take up the matter.