Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hold up, food trucks: Largo puts kibosh on regular invite, will cook up a pilot program

LARGO — The City Commission hit the brakes on food trucks this week, putting a proposed ordinance that would have streamlined the trucks' regular forays into the city on hold because of a long list of concerns.

"There are a lot of things about this that I think we need to think through," Mayor Pat Gerard said. "They may be attractive now and trendy, but maybe next year they'll look like trash."

On Nov. 19, Largo became the first Pinellas city to host a food truck rally, and Community Development staff had hoped it would be the first Pinellas city to pass an ordinance designed to accommodate the burgeoning industry.

But after the negative response from commissioners at Tuesday night's work session, community development director Carol Stricklin said her staff will develop a pilot program for food trucks that will incorporate some of the commission's concerns.

The proposed mobile food vendor ordinance would have allowed 15 food trucks to pay a $200 annual permit fee to operate in Largo. Food trucks would have to park on commercially zoned lots and would not be allowed to park in an area for more than 24 hours at a time.

Commissioner Harriet Crozier thought 15 permits was too many. Economic development manager Teresa Brydon said she was unsure the city would even get 15 applicants. Crozier also didn't like the hours of business — 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. Brydon pointed out that many food trucks generate good business outside bars that don't serve food, and Commissioner Woody Brown agreed.

"I'm not going to be there, but I think it should be a good option for them," he said.

Commissioner Bob Murray didn't think the $200 permit fee was enough, and felt that food trucks have unfair advantages over Largo's brick-and-mortar restaurants.

"Now you have this food truck that has this big banner on it, and it's sitting out there from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m.," Murray said. "To me, it doesn't seem to be fair to the businesses that exist in Largo."

Food trucks have other expenses, Brydon replied, like the rent they pay the owners of the lots they park on. She argued that trendy food trucks coming to Largo regularly would draw new people to the city, and potentially lead some of the truck owners to set up regular restaurants.

Commissioners were skeptical of the idea that food truck owners would ditch the wheels for a brick-and-mortar location in Largo.

"The nature of these food trucks … is not to be brick and mortar," said Brown. "Competition is good, so I say invite it."

Brown was in the minority, though, so the ordinance was scrapped for now.

Stricklin said she hoped to have a proposed pilot program back to the commission within the next two months.

Will Hobson can be reached at (727) 445-4167 or

Hold up, food trucks: Largo puts kibosh on regular invite, will cook up a pilot program 12/17/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 17, 2011 3:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. YouTube's Minecraft sensation Dan TDM brings live show to Clearwater


    Dan Middleton's YouTube channel has had more than 10 billion views since 2012.

    Dan Middleton's Dan TDM live tour is set to stop in Clearwater on Sunday. [Photo by Emily Herogian]
  2. Lightning's Mathieu Joseph on the rise at development camp


    BRANDON — The last 12 months have been quite the ride for Mathieu Joseph.

    Mathieu Joseph checks Carolina's Jake Bean during a preseason game in September in Tampa.
  3. Pinellas legislators talk governor's race, policy at delegation breakfast


    If anybody was expecting state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, to quit being coy and and announce his bid for the 2018 governor's race to the friendly crowd at Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce's annual legislative delegation breakfast Wednesday, they left disappointed.

  4. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes


    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community for the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at DOT's Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Ave. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON | Times]
  5. Florida Orchestra and Tampa Bay Master Chorale scrap search for a joint conductor


    TAMPA — After a yearlong effort, the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay and the Florida Orchestra have abandoned their search for a conductor capable of leading both groups.

    Doreen Rao conducts a concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra in December 2010. Photo by Enid Bloch.