The Oakland City Council recently approved their pilot program for clusters of food trucks within the city. This is an effort to control the surge of food trucks in the city without dampening the enthusiasm and entrepreneurship of the residents of Oakland.
To be called “food pods,” the City Council is allowing 4 districts in Oakland’s 8 districts to host these food trucks. There should be a minimum of 2 food trucks per pod in an open space, commercial, or industrial zone. However the Council also reiterated that the new regulations would be a trial and can be amended from time to time.
Since Oakland has always been in the forefront of the food business and one of the first cities to allow permits for food truck businesses, many of the members of the City Council were for promoting new food businesses. Not all though were in favor of food trucks in their districts because of the potential street and foot traffic it might generate. The food pods will also be allowed to operate at night but not in areas where it would compete with restaurants. Furthermore, business owners in the 4 selected districts will be allowed to give their input about the food pods which will be taken into consideration when approving new food truck licenses and permits.
The new regulations also include scheduling of food pods wherein an organizer must apply for a special business permit and the permit will only be given for one day a week. Furthermore, an organizer can only apply for 40 food pod dates in a year. In a nutshell, the City Council will not allow any permanent food pods.
According to the spokesman for the City Council, the new regulations will be re-assessed in 2013 and made permanent after the trial run. The plan is to come up with one comprehensive law on food trucks instead of a mish-mash of different regulations that were enforced in the past years