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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

As Downtown Fights off Food Trucks, the City's New Street-Food Regulations Prove Faulty

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge MIGUEL ARIAS
  • Miguel Arias

In place of a full-length restaurant review, the food lead in this week's edition of the Weekly covers a disturbing battle that's emerging in the Financial District. Food trucks granted permits through the city's new street-food legislation have come up against organized, lawyered-up opposition from nearby restaurants and commercial-real estate owners.

In a San Francisco Board of Appeals hearing last week, the board struck down permits the Department of Public Works had granted to Kasa Indian Truck and Doc's of the Bay, though the two businesses had followed the application guidelines to the letter. This ruling could have significant consequences for every food truck in the city -- especially any of the trucks with street-parking permits in the business district.

The city's new legislation, passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in December 2010, was meant to facilitate the expansion of the city's growing food truck scene. Instead, the process is taking three times as long, costs almost as much, and leaves food-truck owners with easily nullified permits. Just as worrisome, the FiDi restaurateurs, who pay extremely high rents and do the bulk of their business during only a few hours a day, see the city's new legislation as privileging one type of small business over another.

Troubling all around.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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