The Story Behind the Food Truck Ordinance in Lawrence, Kan.

By Michaela Warren

After receiving numerous inquiries about allowing operations of mobile food units in Lawrence, Kan., the city held a meeting to talk about the issue. Keeping the city’s atmosphere, and keeping the city safe and clean were big concerns. The city introduced a new ordinance in 2011 that allowed for mobile food units to operate. Some comprises made were that food trucks cannot use public streets but are allowed to sell on private property.

Michaela Warren: A couple of years ago the city of Lawrence received inquiries about starting mobile food units in the city. In 2010 a meeting was held to talk about allowing mobile food units. Issues discussed in the meeting were about safety and keeping the city clean. Alejandro Lule, co-owner of La Parrilla, attended the meeting and says

Alejandro Lule, co-owner of La Parrilla: The only thing they talk about, it was garbage, and there be garbage everywhere. And, late nights, the police. Said there’d be too much trouble because people are drunk.

Warren: The city commission thought to have some reasonable regulations to allow food trucks to operate. Mobile food units are not allowed to use public streets or neighborhoods to sell food to keep the city’s atmosphere. Public streets are typically where food trucks operate. Jonathan Douglass, Lawrence City Clerk says.

Jonathan Douglass, City Clerk: Well that was a big discussion point, because I know some places, more urban areas in particular they’ll setup just on a street corner. The city commission felt like that didn’t fit in with our downtown or our neighborhoods as an activity that fit in with our atmosphere.

Warren: The City felt like it was a good compromise to allow food trucks to sell from private property instead of public streets. Lule agrees with the restrictions of where food trucks can operate.

Lule: In so many ways it makes sense, you know, because a lot of people have a food truck. I’ve been all over the states and I like the food trucks. But in some areas it’s a lot of trash and in some areas is really nice. They have nice tables, really clean.

Warren: This is Michaela Warren with That’s Food To Me.

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