New rules for food trucks approved by SLO City Council

Mobile vendors hoping to set up shop in San Luis Obispo will have to abide by a new set of rules come February.

The City Council narrowly passed an ordinance Tuesday on a 3-2 vote to regulate how, where and when mobile vendors such as food trucks can operate.

Councilwoman Kathy Smith, who voted against the ordinance, along with Councilman Dan Carpenter, said her dissenting vote reflected her concern of over-regulation.

Under the new ordinance, mobile vendors will be prohibited from parking in school zones before, after and during school. Neighborhoods are also off limits between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The city had originally proposed prohibiting vendors in neighborhoods from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., but concerns from the public and the council led to the hours being increased.

Residents for Quality Neighborhoods, a community group focused on preserving and enhancing San Luis Obispo’s quality of life, had requested that the vendors only be allowed in neighborhoods from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Doug Davidson, deputy community development director, said few complaints have been received by the city regarding vendors in neighborhoods.

Mobile vendors are also forbidden to park on any public street where the speed limit is more than 35 mph.

The San Luis Obispo Police Department, charged with enforcing the ordinance, will continue to do background checks on all mobile vendors before they are approved for the required permit. Vendors with criminal backgrounds may be denied.

The new rules will go into effect in February — 30 days after the council’s second reading of the ordinance on Jan 7.

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