Thursday, August 25, 2011

Food Truck Public Comment

These are my comments at the city council public hearing on mobile food vending regulations:

"There has been some concern about enforcement expressed and I'd like to review the status of this issue. Enforcement was cited as the ONLY concern coming out of the Planning and Zoning Commission. It was the reason the commission gave these regulations a negative recommendation as a consequence of a three to three tie on the vote. The regulations then went to the Public Safety Committee for a review specifically of enforcement issues and received a unanimous vote in support of the regulations and the enforcement capabilities on the part of city staff and police. This should, in effect, nullify the three negative votes from P&Z, resulting essentially in a unaminous positive recommendation from Planning and Zoning.

Also, we should not look only to city staff and police to address the issue of enforcement. Vendors have an interest in not only following the rules themselves but in pointing out violations of those rules by others. There is a local mobile food vending coalition that can perform a watchdog function in cooperation with proper authorities. Also, the general public is integral in making these regulations work for everyone. Many instances of code violation in Asheville are complaint-driven and I don't doubt that there are plenty of local citizens who would be happy to help keep an eye out for violations and document and report them. With the public sector and the private sector partnering in a comprehensive enforcement solution, it would seem to me that this is more than adequate to address enforcement concerns."