Lexington Food Trucks Struggle Under City Restrictions

Dec 4, 2013

It’s not ready to let food trucks park just any place downtown, but Lexington’s council might be willing to extend a pilot program.  Thursday, council members will likely consider a one year extension. For six months, a pilot program has allowed food truck to operate during specific times in specific spots downtown.  Council member Shevawn Akers, who backed the experiment, says so far, no major complaints.

Credit Angela Baldridge / Lexington Herald Leader

"The Division of Police issued zero citations, the C-A-O’s office received zero complaints, zero permits revoked, zero calls to Lexcall and the Parking Authority did not issue any citations,” said Akers.

Still, Akers says the food truck pilot program is too small and too restrictive…currently only five city permits have been issued.  She says part of the blame lies in the two-hour limit on food trucks in designated metered parking areas.

“It hasn’t been very successful because of the two hour limit, so there’s been a lot more food trucks operating on private property, but the public property has not been utilized as predicted,” added Akers.

The city also allows the food trucks to set up operations in the parking lots of some large manufacturers.  Akers wants to see the experiment expanded.

“There’s opportunities as well in the next years to look at other zoning ordinances, you know, can we change and allow food trucks in certain zones and then hopefully, yes, convince the Parking Authority that the sky didn’t fall in the past six months with allowing food trucks on the street, so let’s extend it one more hour,” explained Akers.    

Akers says there’s no solid information yet on the economic impact of food trucks . The owners of some brick-and-mortar businesses worry the food trucks would offer unfair competition.