No Lunch for You!

Food truck rules


The battle for food truck freedom rages on in Washington, D.C., where rules proposed by the city's Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in April would corral mobile food sellers in 23 zones.

Access to these special vending zones, most of which do not correspond to currently popular lunch spots, would be determined by a monthly lottery. Lottery losers would have to find locations at least 500 feet away from metered parking spots in areas with at least 10 feet of unobstructed sidewalk—a tall order in a crowded city with lots of street parking. The new rules would open spots on the National Mall, a sop to angry food truck owners. But those spots also would be assigned by monthly lottery. 

"These regulations will kill the food truck industry in the city as we know it," Curbside Cupcakes co-owner Kristi Whitfield told the Washington City Paper. "It will be smaller. It will be dispersed out to Lord knows where." Many food truck owners interviewed by the paper said they were considering moving their operations to Virginia or Philadelphia. 

At press time, the D.C. Council announced that it had postponed hearings on the new rules, initially scheduled for April 30, due to a scheduling conflict. A new hearing date had not been announced.