The Planning Commission last week voted in favor of new regulations for off-street food truck lots, allowing them on Main Street one day a week while letting them set up shop on Santa Monica, Lincoln and Pico boulevards for four. They’ll have to set up restrooms and provide parking, among other things. Some restaurant owners are none too pleased.

So this week’s Q-Line question asked:
What should the City Council do now, allow the food truck lots or curtail their operations to only street parking?

Here are your responses:

“I think the City Council should definitely allow the food trucks to set up shop in San Malicious. We need an infusion of different flavors. From what I understand, they can be quite delish. So I say butt out and let them in for heaven’s sakes. Merci beaucoup.”

“To make it short, anyone who wants to conduct business in the city of Santa Monica, they are subject to a bunch of license fees and inspections from various departments … . They generate so much money as a result of business for the city of Santa Monica, which includes sales taxes, property taxes, they have to pay a lot of insurance … and have to pay a lot of money for the city to collect the garbage and have to obey all the rules and regulations … in order to conduct their businesses. None of these things that I said applies to food trucks. They are not subject to anything. They may be hazards to public health. Nobody knows. … They make such a mess on the street and sometimes the pedestrians have no way to walk on the sidewalk and have to walk in the street. … I think this is very unfair and very unjust and very unequal opportunities for people who want to do business.”

“Food trucks — bad idea. Everywhere I walk after they leave, they leave big, dirty, nasty trash everywhere, and pollution. You can’t imagine the stuff that they leave. And they destroy the landscapes. I feel that their food is expensive and is it safe? Not! Please stop this ridiculous operation.”

“I can’t breathe from the stench of propane and smoke from 12 to 15 trucks cooking downwind from me. Anyone who lives near a food truck lot may suffer from being gassed out of their home. The Planning Commission didn’t consider the burning toxic clouds of fumes and the health of nearby neighbors, especially children, the elderly and asthmatics.”

“Something does not add up. Will the food truck people be voters in Santa Monica? Do their relatives live here? By working in this town are they entitled to low-income housing, very expensive education and progressive medical care? How much do they pay in taxes … sorry, I mean permits? Do they pay more than the closest restaurant? I see the furtherance of a divide-and-conquer strategy from City Hall. Restaurateurs against new citizen voters, aka food truckers. A lot of cities have a minimal distance to the nearest restaurant that a food truck can park. I think the fair thing to do would be to park a food truck in front of a different council member’s residence every week. Let’s let our leaders endure a small irritation versus the planned grief they have given to long-time restaurants. It’s all about the money. It’s all about the power to disrupt lives.”

“Food trucks should not be allowed anywhere. It is completely unfair for local businesses who pay rent, Santa Monica taxes and employ local people. If the City Council is going to allow them, then they should at least be required to pay a fee that is comparable to the rent local restaurants pay. City Hall is attempting to grab fees from everywhere, including outdoor dining licenses for restaurants. Why have they ignored food trucks?”

“They’re called roach coaches, and not because Volkswagen builds them.”

“I think the council ought to let the food trucks sell where it doesn’t hinder any public safety and they should let them go about their business, because they usually sell better food than some of the brick-and-mortar places that we have here in town. Let them compete and that way the market will tell the difference whether or not a food truck or brick-and-mortar place can succeed.”

“I think the food trucks are great and the City Council should let them set up in Santa Monica. If the council doesn’t take any action, the food trucks are still going to come. But instead of being regulated and forced to provide bathrooms, trash cans, parking and the like, they’ll just park at a parking meter and take up space, create long lines that will block sidewalks, and their customers will leave trash in the gutters. Regulating them gives City Hall more oversight and keeps them somewhat contained. Restaurants are just going to have to step their game up and become innovative. Try making things off the food trucks’ menus and advertise that. Survival of the tastiest, I say.”

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