Dan King
Dan King · February 16, 2024

ARLINGTON, Va.—Last night, Haines City officials withdrew the city’s proposed food truck ban, and shot down a second proposal to restrict food trucks, following a letter from the Institute for Justice (IJ) saying the restrictions violated both the U.S. and Florida Constitutions. IJ will continue to monitor the city as it considers next steps and is willing to work with the city to write a proposal that would be constitutional. 

“Every single version that the city has considered thus far would not serve the public health and safety. It would just protect restaurants from competition, which is unconstitutional,” said IJ Attorney Katrin Marquez, who testified against the restrictions during last night’s meetings. “The state of Florida already regulates food trucks; the city should not be adding additional burdens on these hard-working people.” 

The city held two meetings last night. The first was a food truck-specific workshop where it considered the city’s second proposal to regulate food trucks, but received substantial pushback from food truck owners and other business owners, who spoke about the benefits food trucks have for the city. During the second meeting, the city decided to withdraw the original proposal that passed a first reading on Jan. 16. 

The original proposal banned most food trucks and required the rest to stay at least 500 feet away from food businesses. The second proposal would have restricted food trucks to one truck per lot, required each truck to provide three parking spaces for customers, prohibited them from having tables and seating, only allowed them to park on concrete or asphalt, and limited the number of hours they could operate. 

“Everybody has a constitutional right to earn an honest living without unnecessary and costly government restrictions,” said IJ Senior Attorney Erica Smith Ewing. “As the city continues to consider next steps, we hope they consider the feedback they’ve received from the community and the constitutional concerns we’ve raised in our letter and testimony.”