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Front Page » Communities » Miami lacks appetite for new food truck regulations

Miami lacks appetite for new food truck regulations

Written by on March 17, 2020
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Miami lacks appetite for new food truck regulations

Legislation that would add additional food trucks regulations in the City of Miami has stalled, as the discussion among commissioners centered on the ways food trucks operate in the city among brick-and-mortar businesses.

Last week, city commissioners deferred an item sponsored by Commissioner Ken Russell that would address food trucks operating in the city with more permanence.

The legislation would mandate that all food trucks present in the same location for more than three days or parked on-site overnight, before receiving a business tax receipt, provide a notarized letter or affidavit from the property owner authorizing the food trucks and a site plan approved by the office of zoning that would show the proposed location. Additionally, for those food trucks, public restrooms must be available on site.

Mr. Russell introduced amendments to the legislation, one of which would require property owned and operated by a religious institution, educational institution or the city, which are currently exempt from the legislation, to provide access to a permanent bathroom. However, other commissioners pointed to problems that could emerge from the amendment, and as a result, it was removed.

Commissioner Joe Carollo, whose district currently does not permit food trucks, pointed to a need to protect brick-and-mortar businesses, especially now amid the coronavirus. He said businesses that would be most affected by the pandemic would be small businesses, which will struggle to pay their leases. He said passing the legislation would be like throwing a 100-pound weight to someone that needs a lifejacket.

“Ladies and gentlemen, there’s going to be a tremendous downsizing of our economy – as a country, as a region, as a city – real soon because of the coronavirus,” Mr. Carollo said.

City code now states food trucks require a business tax receipt, which is obtained by showing certificates of inspection from the Miami-Dade County Department of Health and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Hotels and Restaurants. Also required are proof of valid insurance, a vehicle identification number and a valid peddler’s business tax receipt from Miami-Dade County.

Food trucks aren’t allowed to operate within 500 feet of food service establishments, or gasoline, natural gas or other combustible energy source establishments, nor can they be in single-family residential areas and some low-density residential areas.

Properties in which food trucks are parked must have an active certificate of use. If no more than two food trucks are on-site, the activities qualify as ancillary to the certificate of use so long as they are in an allowed zoning area and are not present more than three times weekly and do not park on-site overnight, a provision that would be struck if the legislation as it stands is approved.

Also for food trucks, a temporary use of vacant land permit can be obtained from the city, which is valid for a year.

“We have to find a happy medium where we don’t hurt the brick-and-mortars, particular the small businesses, but at the same time we don’t curtail the right of anybody that does want to start a small business with the little capital that they have in a food truck,” Commissioner Manolo Reyes said.

2 Responses to Miami lacks appetite for new food truck regulations

  1. Julio Reply

    March 17, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    The particulars sited by Commissioner Joe Carollo aren’t unique to Miami-Dade. What is unique here is that some commissioners cater to foreigners who come with deep pockets and always find a way to elbow out locals who simply can’t afford the outrageous rents being charged by landlords who often times also happen to be foreigners who don’t even require a bank loan to purchase commercial real estate. Miami-Dade is an unrealistic place to do business unless you’re wealthy and willing to take a loss in your business for the first couple of years, something which is unrealistic. This must change and soon.

  2. Ron Sadaka Reply

    March 23, 2020 at 8:51 am

    Food Trucks provide an affordable means of entering the restaurant/food service business where most new business owners would be locked-out. Restaurants are notoriously expensive to open- approvals, build-outs, permits, licenses and certificates of use, DERM, health dept, on and on… Many operators, as their businesses gain an audience, become popular and profitable, actually end-up opening brick & mortar restaurants (Sakaya comes to mind). I think we should provide for more food truck gathering venues- such as The Wharf on the River, Wynwood Yard, or even better- venues closer to where people live so they fulfill the need for fast takeout and delivery. Instead of opening for business in Carollo’s district, they’ll seek locations elsewhere. Carollo’s strategy of locking-out these would-be entrepreneurs does not serve them as business people nor does it serve the local consumer- all are his constituents.

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