PALM DESERT — The City Council passed the desert’s first municipal regulations regarding food trucks during its Thursday meeting, preparing the city for Riverside County’s legalization of the mobile restaurants outside of special events next month.
There was no public comment from residents or food vendors before the council’s 4-1 vote, despite the trucks’ rising popularity as a supplement to the Coachella Valley’s music festivals, art fairs and other large events, as well as occasionally the center of its own events.
Councilman Bob Spiegel cast the one dissenting vote, citing concern for existing restaurants, which under the ordinance are surrounded by a 750-foot buffer, which food trucks won’t be allowed to cross.
“We do the most restaurant business in the valley, and that’s without food trucks. I don’t think we need them,” he said.
Councilwoman Jan Harnik said the distance requirement goes a long way to protect brick-and-mortar establishments, “We all know our restauranteurs have put in a great investment of their time, their money, their effort into their restaurants, and the last thing we would ever want to do is hurt them. Some of them put that investment into our city during a really economically challenging time.”
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