CHICAGO (CBS) — A City Council committee has endorsed an ordinance to allow food carts to operate in Chicago for the first time.

Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th), the measure’s chief sponsor, said he’s a regular customer of food carts in his neighborhood, even though they’ve been banned by the city for decades.

“When I leave church, my first stop is to stop at the eloteros in front of the church to buy my elotes, which are corn on the cob, and also to buy my tamale,” he said.

The proposed rules would require food cart vendors to prepare their food in licensed kitchens subject to city health inspections.

Carts would be subject to city inspection, would have to be enclosed with a top and sides, and would need sufficient refrigeration equipment to store food and drink that must be kept cold at a temperature of 40 degrees or less. Equipment for hot food also would be required, and must be capable of heating food and drink to at least 140 degrees. Carts could carry no more than 40 pounds of propane for that purpose.

Food carts would be allowed to spend no more than two hours on any one block, or the maximum period allowed for street parking, whichever is less.

Ted Dabrowski, vice president of the Illinois Policy Institute, said the vendors welcome regulations, and would be taxed by the city.

“There’s a demand for the product. They’re providing a product that many people enjoy. They like the culture aspects of a different type of food, and clearly Chicago needs more entrepreneurs. Chicago needs more tax revenues,” he said.

A food cart license would cost $350 a year.

Street vendors say the move is a step in the right direction.

“We are in the best position to do whatever the city asks us to do, in order to continue working in the right way,” said vendor Victor Mora.

Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) supported the ordinance, but said there are lots of concerns, such as where vendors would store their carts when not in use.

“Can I go to Menard’s and buy me a shed, and push my mobile food cart in it? I’m working in a neighborhood. Do I have to take it to a commercial garage?”

The city’s Law Department said details like those would be worked out when specific rules and regulations are drawn up.

Backers of the ordinance insisted other food merchants have not complained about the possibility of licensing food carts in Chicago.

Wednesday morning, the City Council License Committee advanced the measure Wednesday morning, sending it to the full City Council for a vote next week.