Proposed ordinance would restrict parking for food trucks in downtown Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A proposed new ordinance is giving some Louisville food truck owners heartburn.
Metro Council is considering regulations that include new restrictions on where food trucks can park, and a court battle could soon be on the front burner.
Troy King opened his food truck, Pollo, in 2014, specializing in several varieties of grilled chicken.
“I think it's a very healthy industry,” King said.
And King said he wants to keep it that way, which is why he sued the city in 2017 and won. A federal judge overturned an ordinance that prohibited food trucks from parking within 150 feet of a restaurant.
“I don't like being bullied,” King said. “And there's no reason that I should be.”
Now, another food fight is heating up.
Metro Council is considering an ordinance that would restrict food trucks to parking in designated vending zones in the downtown area during certain hours.
“It's basically telling me where I can and cannot do business,” King said.
But Metro Council member Barbara Sexton Smith, whose Fourth District includes much of downtown, said the proposal is not intended to target the food truck industry.
“Our food trucks are a great addition, especially to the central business core,” she said.
Smith said the problem is that food trucks sometimes take up too many parking meters.
“We wanted to make sure that we were welcoming and inviting and available for anybody coming into these areas to be able to use those parking meters,” she said.
King said he doesn’t buy that argument.
“If food trucks are putting a dent in the parking situation in Louisville, then Louisville already had a parking problem,” he said.
Food truck owners claim the city is again trying to protect restaurants and are threatening to go back to court if the ordinance passes.
“We have the right to be in any legal business and make money to support ourselves and our families," said Leah Stewart, president of the Louisville Food Truck Association. "It's really that simple."
Smith said she wants to get input from the industry.
“Hopefully, we can come to the table and have meaningful discussion,” she said.
King said he just wants to be left alone.
“I just want to do business. That's it," he said. "We're not doing anything illegal.”
The ordinance gets its first reading at Metro Council on Thursday night.
Smith said the ordinance will spend several weeks in committee, giving the public time to comment before the final version comes up for a vote.
The ordinance would go into effect 90 days after its passage.
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