West Palm Beach Cracks Down on Food Trucks

Categories: Food Truck News
thefirewithin burgers.jpg
The Fire Within will keep serving fire burgers until...?
It seems that the honeymoon phase between the City of West Palm Beach and food trucks is coming to an end. Palm Beach County is behind Miami in food trucks, but certain owners, most notably the Fire Within and Curbside Gourmet, have risen to the challenge of bringing the mobile eateries to the northern part of South Florida. 

There are also smaller food-truck roundups in Palm Beach County that feature local trucks like the weekly Dinner on Dixie.

Now it seems that zoning officials and lawmakers are seeking to crack down on the trucks in West Palm Beach. At the February 27 Mayor/Commission Work Session, West Palm Beach District Five Commissioner Bill Moss presented an agenda item asking for "enforcement of mobile food vendors; business tax customers resent that the mobile vendors do not pay property taxes and are taking the revenue away from business owners; Mayor Muoio indicated that Code Enforcement has been out by Flamingo Park; suggested either making code stronger or create new regulations."


Other food-truck issues addressed at the work session included generator noise, decreased revenue of restaurants because of food trucks, and the formation of a food-truck-friendly zone where food trucks could park because, as Commissioner Keith James said, it could be "a nice attraction." 

This would come down to basically forming food-truck ghettos, no-man's-land areas in Palm Beach County where there are no restaurants, where food trucks would be allowed to park. 

Seth Bryan, who owns the Fire Within food truck with his wife, Melissa, isn't too happy with the way things are panning out. He's especially upset over Commissioner Moss' reference to food trucks not paying their fair share of taxes. "People are saying we don't pay taxes? We pay taxes on our commissary where we prep the food every day, we pay taxes on gas and propane, we pay permit fees. We pay the same taxes to do business as anyone," he told Clean Plate Charlie.

Bryan also said that he and owners of other food trucks have recently been threatened by the zoning department with fines and even arrest. "We're doing everything by the book," he says. "The police came and said we weren't doing anything wrong."

Bryan says that the zoning department now wants the food trucks to get event permits for each weekly food-truck roundup. At $500 per weekly event, that works out to $26,000 in fees, an expense that could effectively kill these small businesses.

Bryan says that for now, he plans to do business as usual, gathering the support of his Twitter followers and the media. He also said plans are in the works for a rally in support of food trucks. 

Clean Plate Charlie has placed messages for West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio and Commissioner Bill Moss, as neither could be reached for immediate comment.


Follow Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook and on Twitter: @CleanPlateBPB.
My Voice Nation Help
6 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Dunemanwpb
Dunemanwpb

Why doesn't government fix our REAL problems first  This is like problem 1043 out of 1044.  And I don't see it as a problem..

Jeryzkyd
Jeryzkyd

1st step get rid of these old dead corpses running our state! What about food trucks on private property they are considered caterers correct? So I can hire any one i want to cater my event do i need to buy a permit for this?

goodhumord
goodhumord

 Generator noise should be regulated with the same noise ordinances already established. Is The City of West Palm Beach really contemplating creating a new ordinance for each new type of noise? Because if that’s the case, I’ll bet many of us can suggest some unwanted, useless noises that could use their very own ordinance. I don’t feel that a designated “food court zone” would be fair to the food truck businesses or the tax payers that want the option of a food truck in their neighborhood.Keith James comment, “It would be a nice little attraction,” regarding turning these individual food truck businesses into a circus in an already failed business area by Palm Beach Lakes (the Palm Beach Mall) is an insult. The food trucks are hard working, tax paying business men and women. If James continues such silly rhetoric perhaps someday he will be “a nice little attraction” Here’s a tip for Development Services Director Doug Wise. If it’s not broke (and it’s not) don’t fix it. The current code does not need to be revised. If there are just a few individual problems it seems like the simple remedy would be to deal with them on a case by case basis?This really came out of Mayor Muoio’s mouth. “It’s a cool thing to have happen in our city, but it’s impeding someone else’s business. I struggle with that and I understand there are (businesses) here paying taxes, although (the trucks) do have hard costs. A little competition is not a bad thing.”If as the good Mayor stated, “A little competition is not a bad thing” Where is the problem?I don’t see the City of West Palm Beach telling any other business that may be competition for neighboring businesses that their location should be regulated. When a CVS or a Walgreen’s opens across the street from the other, where’s the concern? It’s still business competition. I don’t see restaurants that neighbor each other in downtown West Palm Beach and City Place being charged a “special event” fee when they conduct business simultaneously. So why should such a fee applied to these perfectly law abiding, legal restaurants on wheels?!! Business tax customers resent that the mobile vendors do not pay property taxes and are taking the revenue away from business owners. Welcome to America where you have options. It shouldn’t be a big surprise to individuals intelligent enough to own a business that if you choose the option of owning property, you pay taxes.  I presume before these complaining restaurant owners opened for business their current patrons were dining elsewhere. So when they opened for business should their new restaurant have been regulated or told to relocate because they were “taking revenue away from neighboring already established business owners”?!!! The City of West Palm Beach should recognize the absurdity of suggesting such a thing. The City of West Palm Beach’s concern with the food truck industry should be limited to health and safety. And I think the public would find it interesting to find out just how much time and taxpayer money has been invested in employing the code enforcement officer and all his overtime to repeatedly police Flamingo Park in the interest of a problem that doesn’t exist. 

Scott T.
Scott T.

This just shows how currupt the City of West Palm Beach is, the business owners that are complaining are propably the same ones lining the commissioners pockets. If their business is failing they need to take a look at the quality of product that they sell and the quality of their customer service because these to aspects of business go hand in hand with slow and declining sales. The solution is not to stop someone from running their own small business. If that is the case then don't allow Bar Louie to open up on Clematis street because it takes revinue from the other establishments downtown!

LEGALIZE FT
LEGALIZE FT

Food Truck operators in West Palm Beach will NOT stand idly by and watch the City of West Palm Beach further try to limit how and where we can feed our loyal followers! To Our Followers: We NEED to STAND UP FOR OUR RIGHTS! Join us FRIDAY MARCH 2, 4-10PM at FLAMINGO PARK, S. Dixie Hwy WPB **WE'LL BRING THE FOOD, YOU BRING THE SUPPORT!**

Yak
Yak

Another example of government expending their limited resources in the wrong place.

Now Trending

Around The Web

From the Vault

 

Loading...