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An updated look at how Rochester's new food truck ordinance is shaking out

An updated look at how Rochester's new food truck ordinance is shaking out

The Rochester City Council will discuss possible changes to the city's food truck ordinance at its committee of the whole meeting Monday afternoon.

Here are some notes from the agenda packet:

  • The Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau supports allowing food trucks to set up on Second Avenue NW near Central Park or on First Avenue NE near the Rochester Public Library. It also recommends giving the trucks the chance to park on Second Street between First and Second Avenues, but only between 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
 
 
  • The Rochester Downtown Alliance supports setting up two zones: near Central Park and the Post-Bulletin building between 9 a.m.-10 p.m. and outside the bus stops from 10 p.m.-1 p.m. for late night service.
  • City staff tested two models to determine how much to potentially charge vendors for an annual franchise fee. The model using lost parking meter revenue suggests a fee of $2,400, while a model based on property taxes suggests a fee of $1,200. Based on a survey provided in the packet, council members are leaning toward the lower of the two numbers. City staff, the RCVB and the RDA are all in favor of an annual fee of $1,500.
  • Council Member Michael Wojcik, who listed "Copy Minneapolis" to nearly every question in the survey, suggested allowing trucks "the freedom to roam outside the [Central Business District]." He also said the area around St. Marys Hospital should be handled like downtown.
  • City staff, as well as several members of the council, recommend setting up a 100-foot buffer zone between trucks and similar food businesses. Both the RCVB and RDA are lobbying for a 500-foot buffer between trucks and brick-and-mortar restaurants, unless trucks are in their designated zones.
 
 

Results from a survey released by the city in February showed overwhelming support for allowing food trucks to operate downtown. More than 90 percent of respondents said they have a "very favorable" or "somewhat favorable" opinion of allowing food trucks downtown. Just 5 percent viewed the idea unfavorably.

The council could host a public forum as early as Monday, April 4 — with possible action on the issue by the end of next month.


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