Chicago City Council approves food truck ordinance

July 25, 2012

Quinn Ford

(AP Photo/Sitthixay Ditthavong, file)
Amy Le, owner of the Duck N Roll food truck, talks to customers about the ordinance.

Food trucks in Chicago can now cook onboard.

The city council passed an ordinance allowing the change on Wednesday, despite opposition from those on both sides of the issue.

45th Ward Ald. John Arena agreed with food truck owners' complaints, saying the ordinance had too many regulations, such as banning food trucks from parking within 200 feet of a restaurant.

“I think restraint of trade is what this ordinance serves up,” Arena said. “A brick-and-mortar restaurant lobby got ahold of it, and it was stuffed with protectionism and baked in the oven of paranoia.”

Arena
who was the lone vote against passing the ordinance pointed to Los Angeles, which removed similar restrictions from food trucks in the 1970s. He said it didn’t hurt the brick-and-mortar restaurant industry there.

But 1st Ward Ald. Proco Joe Moreno said striking down the ordinance altogether would hurt food truck owners even more. Moreno mentioned three families living in his ward who told him they were ready to launch their own food trucks as soon as the ordinance passed.

“I just think that if you sit here and say that you’re not going to support this ordinance because of something that happened to L.A. in the '70s, that I’m not going to go back to my ward and talk to those three families, and tell them this got tangled up in a bunch of garbage down in city hall,” Moreno said.