Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Proposal Would Help Food Trucks

Proposed zoning change on commercial kitchens makes business easier for food trucks.

By - Jun 11th, 2019 12:42 pm
Taqueria Arandas food truck. Photo taken March 22nd, 2019 by Jeramey Jannene.

Taqueria Arandas food truck. Photo taken March 22nd, 2019 by Jeramey Jannene.

A small change to the city’s zoning code is intended to make business easier for food trucks and provide an additional stream of revenue to churches.

The change, introduced by Alderman Jose G. Perez, would allow churches with commercial kitchens to rent their space to food truck operators without having to seek a zoning variance.

“Food trucks are required to have a commercial kitchen that can serve as a base kitchen,” said Department of City Development representative Ed Richardson. Under the city’s current zoning ordinance, a “catering service” is not a permitted use for a property zoned Institutional (TL).

Churches and others with properties zoned TL must go to the Board of Zoning Appeals to secure a zoning variance to lease their kitchens.

But that requirement hasn’t been uniformly enforced. “This was unfortunately caught after several licenses were granted to businesses,” said Perez.

He said the proposed change would make things easier for food trucks, of which there are many that operate in his south side district, and provide an additional revenue stream for churches.

“I see no adverse use by permitting this use,” said Richardson.

The Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee unanimously approved the change. The proposal will go before the full Common Council next week.

Access to a certified commercial kitchen is often a stumbling block for startup food operations including small caterers, bakers and food trucks.

Food truck regulation has been a hotly contested issue for the council in recent years as bricks-and-mortar business owners have pushed for them to be banned from specific commercial corridors. The council district just west of Perez’s district includes a number of such bans introduced by Ald. Robert Donovan.

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Related Legislation: File 190231

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