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City works to regulate food trucks

Posted at 5:31 PM, Apr 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-08 18:16:26-04

Food trucks. The restaurants on the go are becoming popular in Bakersfield. But the city is working to regulate these eateries.

Right now, the rules for food trucks are very vague. With the growing popularity of these on-the-go eateries, the city wants to make sure they meet the same standards as their brick and mortar counterparts.

Mobile food vendors are on the rise.

"We're very busy, especially during lunch hour," said Marisol Santiago, owner of Pita Paradise food truck.

But recently, there has been debate about how these popular eateries should be regulated.

Jerzey Baranowski,  who owns Jerry's Pizza in downtown, said  food trucks take away their business.

"In the time when we're talking about dollars and pennies, we're basically competing about the pennies. Theres all kinds of issues," he said.

Meanwhile, Santiago said she's aware of the ongoing controversy with mobile food vendors, but hasn't had any issues with brick-and-mortar restaurants.

"I think there's business for everybody. It doesn't matter if theres a building itself or a food truck. The sun comes out for everybody and we're all here to make money," she said.

The Downtown Bakersfield Development Corporation represents both food trucks and established restaurants.

Today, they attended a city meeting to talk about the specifics of a proposed ordinance that meets everyone's needs.

"Are they being regulated? What are some of the issues?," asked Cathy Butler, Executive Director of the DBDC.

The city currently has regulations for mobile vendors, such as push carts, but most of the ordinance doesn't apply to food trucks.

Some of the revisions discussed would include restricting the amount of time a vendor can operate in one location, the proximity to a brick-and-mortar restaurant and hours of operation.

"We're growing as a city, we want to make it safe, secure and welcoming, and that's what we're doing," said Butler.

City staff will now draft an ordinance and bring it back to the Community Services Committee in June. After that, it'll go to city council for review. 

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