SF Schools Still Oppose Plan To Reduce Food Truck Buffer To 1000 Feet

With food trucks becoming more and more popular in San Francisco, a committee of the city’s Board of Supervisors today considered legislation that will clarify and change the regulations for the businesses.

The package of legislation authored by Supervisor Scott Wiener would create a 75-foot “buffer zone” around the entrances to restaurants where food trucks cannot operate but would reduce the buffer zone distance from schools in the city.

The ordinances would also update zoning rules to allow the food trucks to operate on college and hospital campuses while also making the permitting and enforcement processes easier, Wiener said at this afternoon’s land use and economic development committee hearing at City Hall.


Food truck restrictions stuck on school zones [Ex]

The supervisor said the legislation was the result of “two years of very, very intensive negotiations with the various stakeholders,” including food truck operators, owners of brick-and-mortar restaurants, various city departments and the San Francisco Unified School District.

SFUSD director of policy and planning Chris Armentrout said the district is still against the legislation in its current form, which would reduce the buffer zone around schools from its current distance of 1,500 feet to 500 feet for middle schools and 750 to 1,000 feet for high schools.

Armentrout said before the initial food truck legislation, “the vendors were right outside our campus” and had an adverse effect on schools’ lunch programs.

But city youth commissioner and high school student Nicholas Persky said a slightly longer walk was not preventing students from going to the trucks.

“Youth are willing to go pretty far just for food,” Persky said.

“Walking an extra 250 feet isn’t going to be an issue.”

Wiener said the 1,500-foot buffer zone around schools made it hard for food trucks to operate in many areas of the city, including much of the Mission District.

Rob Black, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which includes both brick-and-mortar restaurants and food trucks among its members, said he was in support of Wiener’s legislation.

“It provides a clearer path to all sides about what is allowed,” Black said.

Matt Cohen, founder of the popular Off the Grid food truck gatherings, said the permitting process currently for the businesses “can continue for so long” and that the new legislation would help streamline it.

Wiener said under the new ordinance, Municipal Transportation Authority parking control officers would have the authority to issue tickets to food trucks operating without a permit.

Currently Department of Public Works inspectors are issuing the citations, but there is a lack of enforcement because the department does not have enough resources, Wiener said.

The committee ended up sending the legislation to the full board, which will consider it at its June 18 meeting.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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