No Change For Food Trucks After Lexington Forum

Contributor: Christine Winter
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Updated: 6/08/2012 12:00 am
Should you be able to buy food from vendors, and not just restaurants, any time you want, in downtown Lexington?

The debate was the focus of a community forum Thursday.

Food vendors operating from trucks can be on public property for 6 hours a day. They're allowed within an eight block area of downtown and must have permission to be there.

The rules are in place as part of a proposed by Lexington City Council Member Peggy Henson.

At a forum today Henson met with Bluegrass Food Truck Association Director Sean Tibbets and other community members to discuss changing those rules.

Tibbets said about the meeting, "It was a fairly contentious and a lively debate, a lot of good questions from the audience, but at the end of the day, council member Henson said she didn't hear anything that would make her change anything in her proposed regulations."

The Food Truck Association says those regulations are too restrictive.

Tibbets says they want to be able to sell food anywhere, at any time.

“What we want is equal protection and equal rights to use public and private land for the same economic opportunity as any other food proprietor in Fayette County," says Tibbets.

Downtown business owners are concerned food trucks will hurt their businesses.

They say the vendors have lower overhead and they can move around anytime they want.

Gene Williams, a partner of Natasha's Bistro, thinks both food trucks and restaurant owners have the same vision for downtown. But he's not sure there are enough people to sustain it.

Williams commented, "Although we would like the bike paths, the dog walking, the patios and the food trucks to be part of the downtown scene, it's not really that dense right now."

Jim Sawyer, Owner of Sawyer's Downtown Restaurant, also attended the forum. He says there is a place for food trucks if given the right playing field.

“They bring a lot to the table, a lot, and a lot of clients of their own," said Sawyer.

The Bluegrass Food Truck Association says they hope regulations will be revised this summer.

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