Leaders take steps to look at Knoxville food truck rules

Leaders take steps to look at rules for food trucks in Knoxville

Posted:
Knoxville city leaders are taking a closer look at regulations for food trucks. Knoxville city leaders are taking a closer look at regulations for food trucks.
Knoxville City Council will make the final vote on the resolution to pave the way for the pilot program during its November 26 meeting. Knoxville City Council will make the final vote on the resolution to pave the way for the pilot program during its November 26 meeting.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Knoxville city leaders are taking a closer look at regulations for food trucks to operate in the city after Knoxville City Council Tuesday passed the first resolution needed to develop a pilot program for food truck operators.  

Mayor Madeline Rogero has already met with food truck operators and business owners.  

City officials say a pilot program allowing food trucks to operate in the city could begin as early as January. Until then, food truck vendors, restaurant owners and city officials are hoping to agree on some regulations.  

"Where do you allow food trucks to operate? The timing of operations for food trucks? Some of the regulations that go into it, like the fire code," said City of Knoxville Downtown Coordinator   Rick Emmett.

Willy Rosenberg, the owner of Shono's in City in Market Square, is part of a coalition of around 20 restaurant owners who have hired an attorney during the process.  

Many of those owners worry that food trucks setting up around Market Square could hurt business.  

"I'm not really against or for food trucks, but I want the playing level to be equal," said Rosenberg.

Regulating food trucks is not a "one size fits all" approach. In the city of Nashville, food trucks are prohibited within 150 feet from a restaurant and 15 feet from a curb.  

City leaders say distance regulations won't work because street parking and street space is more limited in Knoxville than in other larger cities. 

Officials are pushing for specific zones where food trucks could operate, like along Gay Street and parts of the Old City.  

"Certain parking spaces, parking area along streets those kinds of things. It wouldn't be a whole block or whole area particularly, but it would be a pretty specific area where we can sign in some way," said Emmett. 

The Knoxville Mobile Restaurant Association says five or so food truck vendors are ready to set up their food drinks.

The owners hope to keep a presence around Market Square even if they face resistance from brick and mortar restaurant owners. 

"I'm pretty confident they'll come up with a win-win and something that is a compromise," said Edwin Wong, president of the Knoxville Mobile Restaurant Association.  

Knoxville City Council will make the final vote on the resolution to pave the way for the pilot program during its November 26 meeting.  

If the resolution is approved, a series of public meetings will held before a pilot program could be rolled out.

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