Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

City officials will give food truck regulations another shot this spring

Maggie Loflin, who owns the Maggie on the Move food truck, often sets up just outside the downtown boundary, near Bayfront Health and All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

Maggie Loflin, who owns the Maggie on the Move food truck, often sets up just outside the downtown boundary, near Bayfront Health and All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.

ST. PETERSBURG — The city is moving forward with changes to make it easier for food trucks to operate downtown.

The issue began more than two years ago as mobile kitchens like Maggie Loflin's began popping up in St. Petersburg, part of a larger trend that has saturated much of the rest of the nation.

While other cities have welcomed the trucks (there are rallies in Tampa regularly), the approach here has been more conservative.

The trucks aren't allowed on public streets downtown. And if a truck wants to sell to the public on private property, they must get a $40 temporary use permit each time, said Loflin, a veteran food trucker who operates Maggie on the Move.

The new regulations were presented to food truck operators, promoters and restaurant representatives Friday during a workshop at City Hall. They would allow for street parking in limited areas of downtown, establish an annual permit for operations conducted on private property and allow food truck rallies under certain conditions.

Anticipation couldn't be higher.

"We just need to get something set," Loflin said. "We need more than our seven trucks in St. Pete to build the scene."

Under the new regulations, the trucks still would be excluded from public street parking in the downtown core, but could potentially park in limited areas near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street and Arlington Avenue. They would need to get a peddler's license, required for all street vending.

The new rules also would eliminate the need for trucks to get permits several times a year by creating an annual permit. It's unclear how much that would cost. Trucks would have limits on the number of days they could park at one spot, a provision that did not please some operators Friday.

City planner Derek Kilborn said officials are seeking a balance between the needs of a burgeoning industry and existing restaurants. There could be options for revisions later, he said.

"We hope by doing it this way we can secure the approval you guys are looking for," he said.

Loflin, a founding board member of the Gulf to Bay Food Truck Association, has found a way to navigate existing rules.

She often sets up near Bayfront Health and All Children's, just outside the downtown boundary, or goes elsewhere around town.

"We just go and park for a couple hours, feed people and go along our way," she said.

Still, she said, the food truck scene here won't grow if changes aren't made. Many of the ideas in the draft ordinance have been talked about for months, or years.

Ironically, the lag may have worked in operators' favor, Loflin said.

The trucks are becoming more visible around town, especially near breweries and establishments that don't serve food.

"I've seen how things have really softened," Loflin said. "People just see us differently than they did two years ago."

Kameel Stanley can be reached at kstanley@tampabay.com, (727) 893-8643 or @cornandpotatoes on Twitter.

What's next

The city's Development Review Commission is expected to examine the proposed new regulations in early May. If that goes smoothly, the matter will be brought to City Council for approval by the middle of June.

.Fast facts

What's next

The city's Development Review Commission is expected to examine the proposed new regulations in early May. If that goes smoothly, the matter will be brought to the City Council for approval by the middle of June.

City officials will give food truck regulations another shot this spring 04/18/14 [Last modified: Saturday, April 19, 2014 12:16am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Daniel Ruth: Public money built Bucs' stadium, so let public sell tickets

    Columns

    Who knew the Tampa Bay Bucs were actually the Daisies of Dale Mabry?

    Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, wants to do what it takes to ensure that those sitting in the lower bowl of Raymond James Stadium are wearing his team's colors. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]

  2. America's opioid problem is so bad it's cutting into U.S. life expectancy

    Public Safety

    Prosecutors in New York announced this week that an August drug raid yielded 140 pounds of fentanyl, the most in the city's history and enough to kill 32 million people, they told New York 4.

    The average American life expectancy grew overall from 2000 to 2015, but that the astounding rise in opioid-related deaths shaved 2.5 months off this improvement, according to a study. [Associated Press]
  3. After Hurricane Irma, Tampa Bay officers headed south to help out

    Public Safety

    When Hurricane Irma was forecast to pummel the Tampa Bay region, Tampa police Cpl. Whitney McCormick was ready for the worst — to lose her home and all of her possessions.

    Tampa International Airport Police Department Sgt. Eric Diaz (left) stands next to Tampa Police Department Cpl. Whitney McCormick at the Collier County Command Post in the days after Hurricane Irma. More than 100 local law enforcement officers traveled from Tampa Bay to help out the county. (Courtesy of Whitney McCormick)
  4. Forecast: Sunny skies, mainly dry conditions continue across Tampa Bay

    Weather

    For Tampa Bay residents, Wednesday is expected to bring lots of sunshine, lower humidity and little to no storm chances.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. Florida education news: Irma makeup days, HB 7069, charter schools and more

    Blogs

    MAKEUP DAYS: Florida education commissioner Pam Stewart waives two of the required 180 days of instruction to help districts complete the …

    Education Commissioner Pam Stewart