To: Elaine Spaull, Councilwoman and Carolee Conklin, Councilwoman
Expand Rochester's Food Truck Pilot Program
I request that the Rochester City Council expand the approved food truck vending locations and ultimately create a better regulatory system to open up all of Rochester's streets to food trucks.
Why is this important?
Fun. Cool. Delicious. Original.
These are just a few of the words that have been used to describe Rochester's emerging food truck scene. Over the past year, Rochestarians have enthusiastically embraced a movement that is becoming part of the landscape all over the US: mobile kitchens specializing in new and exciting niche menus, bringing their food to a variety of locations. Our local food trucks represent the marriage of food-creative concepts and enthusiastic local entrepreneurs.
So why is the city stifling the growth of this popular industry?
Currently, the city requires food trucks to adhere to a multitude of vending regulations based on where the trucks may choose to vend, creating a circular permitting scheme that is a burden to existing food truck vendors, and a barrier to entrepreneurs looking to enter the marketplace. Other laws make it even more difficult to operate.
As a first step in addressing the needs of the food truck community, the City of Rochester is preparing to launch a pilot program that would allow vending in the City Center, which is currently a severely restricted zone.
This program is designed to place food trucks in designated areas with restricted vending hours. While food truck vendors were invited to be a part of the conversation that designed the pilot, it has become clear that our voices are being drowned out by those of existing downtown restaurants and businesses looking to protect their own interests.
We have yet to see final legislation - which we expect to be voted on in a matter of days – but we expect that the Food Truck Pilot Program will include the following actions:
1. A sharp decrease in locations. The City reduced the original eight potential locations to five, and just last week Council made the decision to limit the pilot program to only three locations in the downtown area.
2. Selling unlimited permits for these food truck locations, and instructing vendors to operate on a first-come, first-park basis. In doing this, council is dooming this pilot program to become a failure as there are already more trucks than locations.
3. Proximity Restrictions. Locations were selected with the consideration that food trucks will be placed approximately 300 ft from existing restaurants. This is anti-competitive and unconstitutional.
4. Limited hours of operation. The city will place restrictions on when vendors can serve, even excluding dinner-time hours in one location.
All of this means fewer affordable, fresh, creative mealtime options for you, the consumer; and robs Rochester of the many benefits food trucks have to offer.
We are asking for your support in this matter. By signing this petition, you are letting the Rochester City Council know that you support food truck freedom, and favor expanded choices in the marketplace. You are supporting small local businesses, and fresh, local food options. You recognize the way in which food trucks have been able to benefit under-served areas, and create positive relationships with local restaurants and neighborhoods.
In order to make the Pilot Program successful, please sign this petition to reject the actions above, and request that City Council expand the approved locations and ultimately open up all of Rochester’s streets to our food trucks.