Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Food Trucks En Route to Being a Jacksonville Beach Staple; City Council Passes First Reading on Ordinance That Removes a One-Year Trial Expiration Date

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Food Trucks En Route to Being a Jacksonville Beach Staple; City Council Passes First Reading on Ordinance That Removes a One-Year Trial Expiration Date

Article excerpt

Byline: Teresa Stepzinski

Food trucks are on the road to becoming a permanent feature in Jacksonville Beach.

The Jacksonville Beach City Council passed on first reading Monday night a proposed ordinance removing the expiration date on the one-year food truck pilot program.

If approved by council in a final vote Dec. 15, food truck operators still will have to comply with all city regulations and licensing requirements, but the mobile businesses no longer will have tentative status as part of a pilot program.

The council Feb. 3 approved an ordinance with a sunset date of April 30, 2015, allowing food trucks in Jacksonville Beach. The intent was to give the mobile food vendors a year to operate with city officials evaluating the situation. City Council then would decide whether to keep the current regulations, modify them or repeal them.

City Manager George Forbes recommended Monday eliminating the sunset date. He said in his opinion current city regulations governing those businesses are working well. However, he said the perceived uncertainty because of the built-in expiration date might be deterring some food truck operators from applying to set up shop in the city.

"We think the process is going relatively smoothly. ... We think that the regulations are working well and as a matter of fact, are a good blend of protecting the interests of the food trucks and the brick-and-mortar [restaurant] operators," Forbes said.

Councilman Keith Doherty said he's been disappointed with how few food trucks have rolled into the city. "I don't know if that is because they find it difficult to navigate," he said, asking whether the city received feedback from truck operators about how the ordinance works.

Forbes said the No.1 complaint from the food truck vendors "is they don't like having to pay a business tax on every property they locate on." If they locate on three people's property, the food truck operator has to pay the business tax three times, he said. …

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