Councilman wants tighter regulation of food trucks

Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 10:11pm

UPDATED: Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 4:23pm

Wednesday is food truck round-up in Baton Rouge. Trucks meet at a given location, serving up their chef's delight. But across town, the East Baton Rouge Metro Council Finance and Executive Committee was going over a new ordinance, that if passed, would force truck operators to have written permission from property owners before parking their truck at a location.

"What I'm trying to do is protect the business owners," said Councilman Rodney Bourgeois, who proposed the ordinance.

Bourgeois is the owner of a traditional brick and mortar restaurant. Food trucks could be seen as new competition to his traditional restaurant model. But Bourgeois said the ordinance is a form of liability insurance to protect businesses in the event of an after hours accident on their property involving a food truck. It also regulates parking, forcing trucks to park with serving windows facing away from oncoming traffic.

"If something happens, spill hot coffee in your lap, whatever it may be," Bourgeois said, "who is the lawyer going to sue?"

Truck owners object to this proposed ordinance, calling it redundant, since many trucks already do this voluntarily.

"Many trucks don't operate this way," said Chris Meyers, owner of Three Bones Catering Company. "It's against good business practices."

Truck operators said they already get permission from property owners to set up, as was the case with Harb's Oasis nursery Wednesday.

"Every truck gets permission to park where they are," said Nick Hufft, owner/chef of Curbside food truck.

The full council will now consider the proposal brought by Councilman Bourgeois.

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