Parking Authority Backs Food Truck Pilot

May 16, 2013

It’s on to Lexington’s City Council for a food truck pilot project.  The compromise today got an initial go-ahead from the Parking Authority Board.  The six month trial run allows food trucks in designated downtown zones during daytime hours.  Since they’d occupy metered spaces, the compromise required the Parking Authority’s approval.  It came with a number of requested modifications.  The revisions continue the ban on food trucks along Mill Street but allow them on an extended portion of Vine.  Council member Shevawn Akers, who’s work group constructed the compromise, predicts the council will also approve.

“I’m super excited, I feel like the momentum continues toward passage of the pilot project and with the revisions recommended by the Parking Authority I think that Council will get behind it as well,” said Akers.

The Parking Authority’s lone no vote came from member Wayne Masterman, who owns Portofino Restaurant in downtown Lexington.  He believes food trucks on public streets have an unfair advantage over brick and mortar establishments.  The pilot plan prohibits food trucks within one hundred feet of any open business, but, Masterman’s not sure that’s far enough.

“Just look through comparisons with other cities.  Our issue is one hundred feet and nine out of ten of the other cities surveys are two to three hundred feet away from a restaurant, so I think ours is a bit lenient,” said Masterman.

During daylight hours, food trucks could use half of available meters in designated zones.  Overnight, all metered spots would be available.   In other cities, competition among vendors for the best spots has occasionally turned violent.  However, Parking Authority Director Gary Means anticipate little trouble.

“They have to rotate anyway.  So, if they’ve parked in this particular zone for two weeks they can’t come back for that third week.  They have to wait 30 days before they return and that’s a health department rule.  So, we think that will sort of thin down that demand for a certain hot spot because if got in there, you’re only going to be able to be in there every day for two weeks,” added Means.

If given final approval by Council, the food trucks could operate with the designated downtown zones beginning next month.  The there would be a review in December.