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CHICAGO (CBS) – The Chicago City Council has overwhelmingly approved an ordinance that expands the operations of food trucks on city streets.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the council voted 44-1 in favor of the ordinance legalizing food trucks that prepare food on board the vehicle.
Previously, all food trucks that operated in the city could only sell food that had been prepared at commercial kitchens, and could only keep hot food warm on the trucks, not cook it on board.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports
The ordinance would require the food trucks to keep at least 200 feet away from bricks-and-mortar restaurants. Some food truck owners have said that would limit them to remote spots that do not get much demand for food trucks.
Food trucks would also be limited to designated “food stands,” with space for two trucks each, in high-density areas of the city where parking is already at a premium. The mayor’s office said the precise locations of the food stands will by chosen in each ward by the local aldermen, residents, and business community.
The trucks can only operate in locations where they can legally park, and cannot stay in the same spot for more than two hours.
The ordinance also requires truck owners to install GPS devices to monitor their locations. Owners would be subject to fines of $1,000 to $2,000 for operating outside of the designated areas.
Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), who represents the downtown area, noted neither food truck operators nor restaurant owners really like the ordinance, so he said aldermen probably got the new law right.
“I have a unique position, in that I represent literally hundreds of bricks-and-mortar restaurants downtown, but I’m also someone who absolutely loves street food, and the entrepreneurship that comes with it,” he said.
Ald. John Arena (45th),was the only alderman to vote against the measure, joining food truck owners who said the measure is too restrictive in where they can operate. He said it leaves too few areas where food truck owners can sell food, and would prevent many of them from breaking even.
Owners of traditional bricks-and-mortar restaurants have complained that food trucks that can prepare food on board will cut into their profits, at a time when many restaurants are already struggling to stay in business.