Factory and office workers in Lexington could see new lunch time items available in coming months. But, it might mean a trip outside. While the debate in Lexington rages over food trucks, those vendors might find less resistance at workplaces. Worried about competition, the owners of many brick-and-mortar restaurants want to limit a food truck’s access to public spaces…keeping them from doing business on public streets. However, with a small change to the Lexington’s zoning restrictions, Planning Director Chris King says businesses without indoor dining facilities for their employees could open their gates to food trucks.
“Well, we have locations where there are permitted uses that can’t meet that requirement but a food truck could serve that same need and this change would allow that to happen with the normal restrictions of the site permitting that you put in place earlier this year and also the board of health regulations would still apply,” said King.
Council members are expected to vote on the required resolution tonight. It could then go on to the planning commission for consideration. Councilmember Shevawn Akers, who chairs the Food Truck Work Group, wants the amendment. As for access to public spaces, Akers says a compromise over food trucks could come in May when the work group meets again.
"That would be to allow food trucks on public land but in certain areas under certain times and that kind of thing. So, I don’t want to speak exactly where they are and what the times are in advance of the meeting because I’m sure it will be negotiated, discussed, and revised following that,” said Akers.
Still, food trucks are making their presence known in downtown Lexington. Earlier this month, Akers says about ten vendors participated in a ‘food truck blast’ at Cheapside Park Pavillion.
“They had 800 or more supposedly customers. People ran out of food. They’re doing another food truck blast this Friday at Midland and Main on Phil Houlebaks’ vacant lot and the following Friday they’re supposed to be back at Cheapside Pavillion again,” added Akers.
With a special permit, Akers says food trucks can open for business at Cheapside Pavillion. Another gathering of food trucks this Friday is on private property.