Make us your home page
Instagram

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 [email protected]

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

Loading...
  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Blogs

    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102