By Connie Conley, Elk Grove Community Connection
Special to Elk Grove Patch
A food fight could have heated up in Elk Grove between mobile food trucks and Elk Grove’s established brick-and-mortar restaurants. But a détente seems to be on the horizon after .
On one side is the mobile food industry of tacos, burgers, falafels, BBQ, from gourmet food items to just plain good grub. This industry is captivating cities around the country, even having competition shows on the food channel. [An idea a few of us have explored as a new event here in Elk Grove.]
On the other side are the owners of traditional restaurants that pay rent and/or property taxes, provide benefits for employees, support our local charities, and have a major stake in our city and our neighborhoods.
With today’s pop culture, food trucks on the street are part of the new urban experience. But as Elk Grove Mayor Jim Cooper said, “We need to fair to the brick-and-mortar businesses.”
Cooper suggesting a meeting with the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce, the restaurant owners and the food truck operators is a good one.
With the Chamber’s input, along with staff, more needs to be considered.
They need to consider -- which I did not hear last night and it may have been in the staff report -- what I may have missed and maybe others did as well.
- Over-saturation: Should the city limit the number of trucks and the time they can park?
- Notification: Should building owners be told when somebody applies for a permit near their places of business so they can appeal if they choose?
- What about Liability? Owners of buildings where trucks might park nearby need protection from lawsuits in case something goes wrong.
- But the most important issue is where these trucks should park and how many of the most congested areas can they accommodate. Empty space is sometimes rare, especially in Old Town, and trucks shouldn't infringe on the trade of our city's established restaurants.
- Other private spaces could be explored as well – for instance, parking lots next to closed businesses -- which could bring additional business to local stores. [One idea, an event in the parking lot ]
Food trucks do offer a service and will add to the color and taste to our city, but established restaurants deserve a fair deal, too. Getting everybody in the same room to talk, as suggested by Cooper, is a move that should be applauded, and when it is all said and done, the community can look forward to mutually beneficial solutions.
The city of Elk Grove has taken a new path as well in that we now proclaim to be a city that knows how to do it right. Let’s hope so!
Elk Grove, what do you think the city council should do in this issue? Share your thoughts as a comment below.
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