West Palm Beach Cracks Down on Food Trucks
|The Fire Within will keep serving fire burgers until...?|
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.
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