One county in Florida is clearing the way for food freedom. The Sarasota County Planning Commission recently came out in favor of easing up on the area’s food truck regulations, as reported by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
“The county has crafted a series of changes to its street vendor codes to eliminate restrictions that food trucks must be 800 feet from an established restaurant, unless given written consent, or 750 feet from each other.”
This would also open the door for food trucks to operate in more commercial areas than currently permitted.
The Institute for Justice has been working closely with Sarasota County’s food trucks for over a year, and has helped local entrepreneurs craft reasonable proposals that would be acceptable to county commissioners. IJ proposed a more streamlined system that would allow trucks to do business in areas not likely to cause any kind of traffic issues.
In April, IJ participated in a rally to support local food trucks and call attention to the county’s obstructive rules. On May 5th, a hearing was held in which county commissioners largely favored loosening the regulations, but delayed voting on the issue until August 18.
IJ Attorney Allison Daniel, who testified at the hearing, says Sarasota County should follow the trend set by other cities and municipalities by allowing a greater amount of competition and consumer choice. Daniel said:
“While the Sarasota County planning commission is open to changing some of the more onerous food truck regulations, every day the current regulations remain in place is a day that food truck operators struggle to earn an honest living. Sarasota needs to repeal the proximity restrictions, open up more food truck-friendly zones, increase the permitted size of trucks, and allow county-wide roaming. Municipalities across the country have adopted similar streamlined solutions for fostering vibrant food truck scenes while maintaining order and facilitating enforcement of the law. Sarasota should be one of them.”
Another food truck initiative is now underway in Baltimore, where city regulators are strictly limiting where food trucks can do business: