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Artesia Amends Ordinance on Food Trucks

By Rico Dizon
A new ordinance (No. 12-784)  “regulating the sale of food, food products, ice cream, goods or merchandise from motor vehicles, and amending the Artesia municipal code” might be adopted in the near future following its introduction, discussions and public hearings.

The ordinance proposes a $500 permit fee for ice cream trucks, along with finger printing and a background check. The draft ordinance proposes to allow mobile food vending trucks in certain limited areas of the City and not in commercial zones. Specifically, mobile food vending would be allowed as follows:
1. Food trucks would be permitted to vend in the City’s Light Manufacturing and Industrial or Heavy Manufacturing and Industrial Zones.
2. Ice cream trucks would be permitted to vend in the City’s residential zones in addition to the Light Manufacturing and Industrial or Heavy Manufacturing and Industrial zones.
Just to cite a few of the restrictions, food trucks cannot vend at any location for a period of time in excess of two hours per 12 hour period commencing at 7:00 a.m. and ending at 7:00 p.m. and the motor vehicle shall be moved a distance of not less than 200 feet between consecutive stops at which sales and service activities occur; vendors cannot sell from a motor vehicle parked on any privately-owned  property without written permission from the property owner; food trucks vendors must charge, collect and transmit sales tax of all sales in the City; vendors must possess at all times an unexpired health permit issued by the Department of Health Services of Los Angeles County.
For exceptions, the proposed ordinance would allow vending in the City’s public parks, public streets and other places in the City only if the vendor is an approved participant in a community event authorized by the City of Artesia. In addition, occasional vending will be allowed on private properties owned by a social welfare nonprofit organization or a religious institution sponsoring an event not exceeding five times a year.
The stringent requirements and restrictions of the proposed regulation directed at food trucks and related uses in the City prompted a certain Ms. Winnie Kho, landlord and property manager of a 50,000 sq. ft. shopping center in the City that includes restaurants to send her disagreements to what she referred to as “highly restrictive and anti-business” proposed ordinance.   Kho said, “We are what you would expect to be the greatest opponents of the food truck industry. “However, we are not. “We firmly believe that food trucks when practically regulated can help increase foot traffic and bring greater commerce to shopping centers.” Thus, through her suggestions, the City Council settled on applying the $500 permit fee and finger printing only to owners of ice cream vending trucks for reasons stated earlier. Hence, the rest of the food and similar vendors from mobile vehicles will pay less and won’t be subjected to finger printing.
Yet, even with these somewhat eased modifications, Artesia Councilman Tony Lima conspicuously was the lone opposition during the meeting. Lima described the ordinance as “too confusing, too restrictive and too costly.”

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