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Food Truck Ordinance Passes City Council

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jul 25, 2012 6:00PM

Food trucks in Chicago will now be able to cook and prepare their food to order for customers after the City Council approved of Mayor Emanuel’s food truck ordinance this morning by a 45-4 vote, with one abstention.

There is still a lot for food truck vendors not to like about the ordinance, which limits where and for how long they can operate. Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) defended the limitations, saying that all restaurateurs must operate under the same rules and regulations. Tunney also compared regulating food trucks to regulating sidewalk cafés, which he said has been revisited and improved upon over the past 25 years.

Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) applauded the ordinance as being food for the entire city. “I, for one, am looking forward to seeing ‘food truck extravaganzas’ in my ward very soon”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel hailed the vote on the ordinance, the passage of a city ethics plan and an amended Chicago gun ordinance as proof that Chicago is once again the City That Works. "We are moving forward with things instead of merely debating them,” Emanuel said.

As for the food truck ordinance, Emanuel and Tunney hailed it as a jobs creator. Emanuel added, "we will monitor it and amend it as we move forward."

In addition to being able to cook and prepare food on board, the ordinance will allow food trucks to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but with higher licensing fees, regular health inspections and food safety and sanitation training, and stiffer fines; and requires food trucks to be equipped with GPS, maintain a 200-foot minimum from a brick-and-mortar restaurant, and operate in designated "mobile food truck loading zones" for no more than two hours at a time. (Trucks may be able to serve within 200 feet of a restaurant between midnight and 5 a.m.) Wards will work to establish areas where food trucks can operate.