Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg loosens rules for food trucks

ST. PETERSBURG — Food trucks will have an easier time peddling their cuisine as the City Council loosened up regulations regarding the mobile kitchens Thursday.

The city has debated how to accommodate the growing demand for food trucks since 2011. A booming national trend, including Tampa, has been hampered in the city because of its burdensome regulations, food truck operators and advocates say.

"We've beat this horse to death," said council member Amy Foster.

The new rules would allow food truck rallies, let vendors buy an annual permit instead of costly temporary use permits and enable trucks to park on streets in limited areas downtown.

But the rule changes didn't come without sparring over how much food trucks cut into restaurants' profits.

Council member Jim Kennedy argued that the revised ordinance should prohibit food trucks within 500 feet of a bricks and mortar restaurant that pays property taxes.

"As a city, we don't want to do things that hurt our ad-valorem taxpaying businesses," Kennedy said.

But other council members didn't go along and his proposal died in a 6-2 vote.

Darden Rice, who had supported Kennedy's 500-foot rule, advanced a plan to reduce the boundary to 300 feet. That also failed by the same margin.

"It's two different experiences," said council member Steve Kornell, who said he's never decided to eat at a food truck en route to a restaurant. "I don't think there's going to be a problem.

Council member Charlie Gerdes noted that the city still prohibited food trucks in most of downtown, creating a buffer for many of the restaurants in the city's core.

Maggie Loflin, a founding member of the Gulf to Bay Mobile Food Truck Association, said her members don't compete against restaurants.

"We've found our niche within the city," she said.

Another Kennedy proposal — to bar food trucks from putting out tables and chairs in the public right-of-way — passed easily.

Charlie Frago can be reached at or (727) 893-8459. Follow him on Twitter @CharlieFrago

St. Petersburg loosens rules for food trucks 06/19/14 [Last modified: Thursday, June 19, 2014 9:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg council sets millage rate in first budget hearing

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council set the millage rate and gave initial approval to Mayor Rick Kriseman's $538 million budget at Thursday night's hearing.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  2. How many more people would lack coverage under Cassidy-Graham? We can guess


    WASHINGTON — It's safe to say the new Obamacare rollback measure toward which the Senate is charging would mean fewer Americans have health coverage. Exactly how many is unclear. Some argue it could be more than 22 million people. Others say it could be fewer.

  3. Woman's decomposed body found near St. Petersburg railroad tracks


    ST. PETERSBURG — A woman's body was found near the railway tracks behind an empty building at 3100 38th Ave. N, according to St. Petersburg police.

  4. Warehouse burns on Tampa's east side


    TAMPA — Hillsborough County emergency crews are at the scene of a two-alarm fire at a warehouse near 56th Street and East Hillsborough Avenue.

    Hillsborough County firefighters battle a blaze Thursday night at a warehouse on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  5. 'Dream big' drives Lightning's Conacher brothers

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Two words: Dream big.

    Cory Conacher includes them every time he signs an autograph for a young hockey fan.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cory Conacher (89) on the ice during Lightning training camp in Brandon Friday morning (09/15/17).