City of Miami Cracks Down on Food Trucks

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Jefe's Tacos
Friday was not a great day for food truckers in Miami. In the afternoon, the food truck roundup at Magic City Casino proved to be underwhelming, business-wise. When asked about how sales were at the lunchtime food court, the answer from truck owners was a resounding "eh."

Then came a blog posted by The Miami Herald at 6:30 p.m. In it was a statement made by Barnaby L. Min, zoning administrator for the City of Miami. Min said "If food truck operators want to continue with their current practice of weekly gathering at specific locations in the City of Miami, they will have to obtain a permit for each event, and if they want to extend how many times a permit can be used, they'll have to get a waiver from the City Commission.

A one-time use permit costs $153.50. The kicker is that each permit can only be extended two times for private property and ten times for public property in a year. This means that weekly events, like the one held at American Legion Post #29 are in jeopardy.

Another option available to food truck owners is to find a vacant lot in the city and obtain a "Temporary Use of Vacant Land Permit". This, however, can only be used on true vacant land -- meaning no parking lot, no condemned building, no cows. Just a piece of land that is totally void of any structure or improvements. If the truckers could find such land, they could be issued a permit to operate for six months.

The third option is for food trucks to obtain a peddler's license, much like ice cream trucks. The catch there is that the trucks must remain moving and only stop when a transaction is taking place. That's great for Mister Softee, but when grills, griddles and fry vats are in play there's an element of danger that simply did not exist before, not to mention a time factor. It may take 30 seconds to complete a transaction for a vanilla cone with sprinkles, but to make a burger and fries would take significantly longer and lead to traffic jams or worse.

New Times contacted Jim Heins, owner of Latin Burger and Jack Garabedian, owner of Jefe's Original Taco for comment. Heins said he would have to read the statement to understand and comment on it, but added "My question is how long will it take to get a permit? Because once we get a location, we do these (roundups) pretty quick."

Jack Garabedian said "Hopefully there will be a way to get around some of the more stringent rules. It's actually a step in the right direction. At least we know what the parameters are".

Garabedian did add an interesting thought, "Hurricane season is coming. The food trucks, with their generators, could step up and help out if a disaster occurs in the community. The City should embrace us now, before something happens".

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14 comments
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Bbwasskin
Bbwasskin

food trucks are the best place to eat also the food is always fresh especially guiseppes sausages are the bet and you dont have to wait long fora real good sandwhich

Laura
Laura

It is unfortunate that a diverse city as such as Miami does not embrace Food Trucks. It is a political game and in some cases the restaurants complaints triggers these actions by city council. As food trucks become more popular this will be happening in many cities. Check out Raleigh, NC, Chapel Hill, NC, and Cleveland, OH. All of these cities are facing fights with the city councils, zoning agencies in regard to locations, licenses etc. WHAT WE NEED IS A NATIONAL FOOD TRUCK ASSOCIATION IN WHICH WE CAN SHARE ON LINE WAYS TO FIGHT THESE CITY HALLS THAT ARE IMPEDING ON WHAT SHOULD BE A CITIZENS RIGHT TO MAKE A LIVING!! laura - customfoodcartsandtrucks@gmail.com

Hseiglie
Hseiglie

The City of Miami is being run by bumbling idiots! I am a City of Miami Firefighter who enjoys the food truck gatherings individually or in group. The City is so short sited that they can't see that these events bring people into the City to spend money; so instead of creating an annual fee (permit) at a reasonable price they would rather preclude themselves from revenue from parking and any spending that may occur prior to, or after the food truck events. People get out and vote these idiots out of office and make sure the replacements aren't as SSSStupid.

Marisun
Marisun

I wish it was just the food trucks but every person I know of heard of who owns a business or has tried to open a business in the city of Miami has had problems and headaches dealing with the City of Miami and the bureaucracy. Maybe they should just stick to other municipalities in the county that have less red tape and are more small business friendly. I however love the food trucks, they were near Johnson and wales last night in North Miami and it was wonderful with music and people basically picnicking with family and friends. The food trucks are really a wonderful addition to the area and given the state of the economy its good to see small business doing ok, its just to bad the city of Miami is being difficult.

savemyhome!
savemyhome!

I wanted to open a food truck business because I have been unemployed for a year! I am just trying to find a way to pay my bills and save my home. This news is very disappointing!

Taylor Paul
Taylor Paul

OverLoad Extreme Sandwiches will be hitting the mobile kitchen scene soon! If you like to eat. I mean REALLY like to eat. OverLoad is were you want to go. Follow us will keep you posted. See you soon. Stay hungry my friends!

alltheplacesivebeen
alltheplacesivebeen

What a bunch of bums these city officials are. The people want more food trucks in more locations. These assholes go the opposite way.

Steve
Steve

Any small business owner in miami knows ... the city must get paid... water impact , parking impact.. road impact; these are fees that go to the city for good or bad... THIS is the way business is done.. these truckers pay for their trucks and then take business away from the restaurants that have had to pay these substantial city and county fees... i am sorry, it is not fair to the small business owners. Permits cost money, licenses cost money, tables, chairs, waiters, cooks and managers cost money. Are these trucks adding to society? how many jobs are being created because one truck goes into business? One restaurant puts money into ten, twenty, thirty peoples homes and families... think about it. I am happy that a movement was created in miami, its about time something happened here. BUT it should be on an even playing field.

Clutterdiva
Clutterdiva

At a time when the economy needs entrpeneurs like the food truckers, which provide the community with safe food and fun, affordable events, the City of Miami should embrace them instead of makes their lives harder. What the city is doing is trying to milk as much money as they can out of small businesses to make up for their budget shortfalls. Shortfalls caused not just by the economic situation, but also caused in great part by city mismanagement.

EATME
EATME

Good Luck Miami... You will never be like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago for food trucks. You have too much corruption , greedy people and just plain old unethical basterds to ever....... for get it! i give up.

 YELLOw SuBMAriNE
YELLOw SuBMAriNE

No wonder why this is one of the poorest cities in the country.

Julio2233
Julio2233

City of Miami always has been against SMALL BUSINESS. I am in the Waste Industry and they only allow LARGE WASTE HAULERS in the city. they Close off Permitting to Small Haulers. Something fishy is going on in City of Miami

Guest
Guest

Jack is right. This is a first step in a process, that can lead to rational regulation. Every city where the "gourmet" food truck fad has sprung up has been struggling with the same issues ... especially questions relating to whether there is a level playing field in comparison with regulation of competing businesses, whether food handling and food safety issues are adequately managed, whether risks to public safety and/or public nuisance are adequately addressed. See www.savethefoodtrucks.com for an example of the ongoing conflicts in San Francisco, which some readers may mistakenly believe is an "enlightened" city with respect to food trucks.

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