The D.C. Council’s Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs unanimously voted to reject the proposed food truck regulations this afternoon. But the lengthy battle is not over yet. Chairman Vincent Orange is still seeking to introduce emergency legislation next Tuesday that would allow the Council to amend the rules, rather than vote them up or down.
A committee report from chairman Orange (see below) said the proposed regulations were “nearly finished” but outlined a few changes it would like to see. Among them: eliminating the proposed rule requiring food trucks to vend in parking spots with at least 10 feet of unobstructed sidewalk. The committee report also asked the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to re-evaluate the 500-foot buffer areas around the proposed limited vending zones where food trucks would compete in a lottery to park.
“We’re so grateful to the leadership of the committee,” said Food Trucks Association Metropolitan Washington Political Director Che Ruddell-Tabisola. “It’s a great milestone, but we’re not across the finish line. We still need regs that work at the end of the day.”
Meanwhile, Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington President Kathy Hollinger, whose group supported the District Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ proposed regulations, said she was disappointed. “The proposed regs could have been passed, and we could have revisited working out the details shortly after,” Hollinger says.
Hollinger also worried that bringing the proposed regulations to the full Council might open a new can of worms for all parties involved. “It’s always easier to work something out in a committee,” she says. “Those few issues that are remaining that need to be worked out, those are issues that the committee has identified. But we don’t know what other issues the full Council would have.”
Even Orange echoed that sentiment in today’s hearing, saying he was “a little hestant bringing all the members to the table.” Still, he expressed a desire to get the regulations resolved by the end of June: “Everyone really has this as a high priority.”
Photo by Darrow Montgromery