Food truck fight continues in Jacksonville Beach

Council members discuss new food truck ordinance


JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The fight over food trucks continued Monday night in Jacksonville Beach. City Council held a workshop to continue the discussion over how mobile food trucks and mortar restaurants can co-exist and fairly compete for business in Jacksonville Beach.

"My hope is that tonight, we'll take all of that feedback on the revised legislation and really get a plan going for -- in my opinion -- how we can make this happen," said Jacksonville Beach City Council member Christine Hoffman.

The battle over food trucks at the beach has been going on for more than a year. City council members didn't vote on anything Monday night, but worked on revisions to an ordinance that would allow food trucks to operate on the beach.

RELATED: Food trucks debated at council meeting

Hoffman told Channel 4 that there is no perfect legislation for the trucks to operate, but that the council is trying to hammer out a compromise.

"We have a very high standard here in Jacksonville Beach," said Hoffman. "We have a quality of life that we really appreciate and love here at the beaches, so we really want to make sure that we are bringing in those higher-end food trucks, and not what you would think of as just the hot dog cart that you've seen in the past and is commonly known as the reason for the ban on the food trucks in the first place."

Right now, food trucks cannot legally operate in Jacksonville Beach, but if council were to approve them, the ordinance states that they would have a lot of new rules to follow.

First, the ordinance states that food trucks would have to stay at least 100 feet away from a restaurant and can only operate on a privately owned lot.

Since the last meeting, council members have made two key changes to the proposal: Prohibiting food trucks from being stored overnight on a permitted site, and enforcing mobile food vendors to show written authorization from the lot owner to operate.

Some council members voiced their support for the pilot program trial period with food trucks, while others argued that some of the language in the ordinance and stipulations in the revised proposal are still too confusing.

Vendors like Chris Dickerson said they feel encouraged by Monday's workshop.

"I think if the underlying zoning allows for a restaurant, we should be allowed to serve," said Corner Taco's Chris Dickerson. "Steve Lindorff, the city manager, has been very cooperative and fair. He's said of the responses he's received, I believe it's north of 100, about 90 percent have been for food trucks, so the public clearly wants it and I hope the council will listen to that and ultimately give the people what they want," said Dickerson.

Jacksonville Beach City Council is expected to address the food truck ordinance again at their next meeting, which will be held at the end of November.