Food-truck pilot program up for renewal

Food-truck pilot program up for renewal

Administrators want to change locations, raise operating hours

CHAMPAIGN — City officials would extend a pilot food-truck licensing program for another year under a proposal scheduled to be presented to city council members tonight.

Participation has been low, and city officials are not quite ready to make the current rules on food trucks permanent, said Assistant Planning Director Rob Kowalski. Council members are scheduled to discuss the one-year extension at 7 p.m. today in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.

"The amount of participation has been limited," Kowalski said. "There's only three trucks operating right now, so we're not ready to make permanent code changes."

Administrators will recommend a few relatively minor changes to the rules. The pilot program is set to expire June 1, and city officials need to approve the extension if they want to keep food trucks operating on Champaign streets.

The city has issued seven permits since the program began last June, though only three businesses have taken advantage of them lately. Burrito King, Cracked and The Empanadas House have been active on Champaign streets.

Food trucks may operate without the city license on private property, as long as they have the permission of the owner and the proper zoning. But food-truck operators need a license to open on public property, and the pilot program allows them to operate in seven specific areas for periods of up to two hours.

One of those areas, across the street from the construction site of the new Hyatt Place at Neil and Main streets, will be eliminated to reduce conflict there, Kowalski said. Another on Wright Street just north of Green Street will be moved to the south side of Green Street.

City administrators will also recommend that food trucks be allowed to stop in one spot for up to four hours instead of two, and they will suggest that a decibel limit be placed on the trucks to reduce noise.

"One of the trucks had a pretty loud generator, and it wasn't something we anticipated," Kowalski said.

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