Sioux Falls Food Trucks vs. Restaurants with City Hall in the Middle
Under what conditions should people selling fresh prepared food be allowed to make money on the public streets, alleys, and parking lots in Sioux Falls?
Numerous "Food Trucks" are operating in Sioux Falls. Currently, if they park their vehicle on the public right of way to sell their product, they are violating city law.
An ordinance is being drafted by city staff and council members serving on the public services committee to allow, with regulations, the practice. It appears most members of the council committee favor some type of regulation regarding hours of operation and where and under what conditions the vehicles may be parked.
Most of the focus seems to be in the downtown area, where numerous brick and mortar food establishments ranging from fine dining to places offering either specialty or regular fare are located.
I welcome the entrepreneurial spirit to our community. Today's food truck vender might become the next fine dining operator in our city.
My concern is for food safety and safety of the customer and operator. The city already inspects for food safety. It is my hope the thinking minds at city hall will find a way to avoid car and pedestrian accidents as customers buy from these "street vendors." Also, concern for traffic flow as these vehicles are parked on the public right of way should also be a top concern.
Today there are no laws barring restaurants from being next to each other. There are numerous places downtown where competing businesses are a door or two apart.
The concern about food truck vendors unfairly competing with brick and mortar restaurants should be heard.. However, the city must be cautious with ordinance language. It should not promote protectionism at the expense a different way of doing business and competition.
Council Woman Christine Erickson is Chair of the Council Committee working on this ordinance. Her phone number is: 367-8818. Other council members are: Michelle Erpenbach, Rick Kiley, and Kermit Staggers.