Legislation banning food trucks in the Fishtown section is stirring controversy

Legislation banning food trucks in the Fishtown section is stirring controversy

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A proposed ban on food trucks is sparking controversy in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia. It targets one of the busiest areas in the neighborhood.

Food trucks have ignored rules and regulations for too long, campaign supporters say. Opponents say food trucks bring a special flare to Fishtown.

At the intersection of Frankford and Girard streets in Fishtown, late-night bar patrons line up to get their late-night meals from food trucks.

But the mobile grub may not be around for long after Councilman Mark Squella introduced legislation to ban the sale of the food in a three-block radius from Shackamaxon to Leopard Street.

Voting may take place on Thursday.

The debate is that food trucks park illegally, operate after midnight, which is against city law, have idle generators, leave behind trash and cause congestion and noise for neighbors.

“We’re not against food trucks,” said Mark Collazzo, executive director of the Fishtown Business Improvement District. “We appreciate what they went through and that’s what this area was.”

Another argument is that food trucks take away business from local restaurants, especially since they only come in during the late-night hours on weekends to take advantage of bar crowds, Colazzo said.

There was a community meeting Tuesday night where people could participate in the conversation.

“I think it’s very unfair that the food trucks in Frankford and Girard have to operate the way they do versus what a commercial tenant has to go through to open a restaurant,” one man said.

They started out as a food truck 14 years ago and now have a business a half-block away, says Shawn Kongke, manager of Calle del Sabor.

But they still use the food truck at the intersection to compete. He says his truck helps support the store.

“Once the trucks get there, no one walks,” Kongke said. “You’re drunk, how far do you want to go to eat?”

Food truck proponents say they’re part of Fishtown.

“I think they bring an atmosphere to the neighborhood,” one woman said. “Plus, I feel safer having them there.”

Others say they want to find a compromise for both sides.

“We are cutting off food trucks at their knees without offering potential solutions where everyone can coexist,” one woman said.

(tags for translation) pennsylvania

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