Sun. Sep 25th, 2022

Food truck rules are not about safety



By ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER EDITORIAL BOARD

Every 10 years, the city of Santa Ana dreams up new rules and regulations to take on the purported menace of food trucks. On March 7, the City Council approved regulations which, if finalized, would impose unjustified burdens to owners of food trucks, ostensibly to “ensure public safety and prevent traffic hazards, preserve the peace and safeguard the welfare of the community.”

Under the ordinance, the Orange County Register reports, “food trucks cannot sell their wares within 500 feet of a school, park, community center or public playground; within 100 feet of a marked or unmarked crosswalk; in public streets, alleys or highways with a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour or greater; and they cannot flash neon or electronic displays that could distract drivers.” In addition, if the trucks do not move every hour, “they must obtain written permission for employees to use a health inspector-approved restroom within 200 feet.”

Will these regulations “preserve the peace and safeguard the welfare of the community”?

Of course they won’t. These regulations will do more to fulfill a desire by brick-and-mortar business owners, some of whom spoke during the meeting, to prevent competition from food truck operators than they will make Santa Ana a safer, more prosperous city.

This isn’t the first time the city has felt the need to intervene in the food truck market. In 1994, Santa Ana imposed a set of regulations requiring food trucks to move every 30 minutes or face misdemeanor charges. Those rules were later invalidated by a Superior Court judge in 1997.

A decade later, the city tried again, with regulations requiring food trucks to move every 90 minutes. As the Register reported in 2006, “after a four-day trial, Judge W. Michael Hayes determined that the city failed to prove the food vendors threatened public safety” and those rules were similarly struck down.

Alas, the city has found it necessary to give over-regulation yet another try, with the same tired arguments blaming food trucks for whatever perceived ill one might think of. If the City Council truly has the best interests of the community at heart, they will reverse themselves and not waste the community’s time with unnecessary regulations.

By Editor

Art Pedroza started Orange County's first political blog, the Orange Juice, back in 2003. He now publishes the top civic blog in Orange County - New Santa Ana, plus other blogs including New Anaheim, New Fullerton and the Irvine News Blog, as well as the OC Politics Blog.

6 thoughts on “Santa Ana’s new food truck ordinance is about restricting business, not safety”
  1. How would you like to have a food truck selling tons of junk food parked in front of your house – every – single – day?

    1. I did. For years. Back when I lived in the Artesia Pilar Neighborhood. The food truck was parked just down the street from my house. It was a taco and seafood truck and it was very popular in the neighborhood. And there you see is the conundrum. The trucks are where they are because the residents demand the service. Trying to force people not to eat this food is a losing battle. Let the people eat what they want to. Personally I don’t eat fast food any more if it can be helped. But that is a personal decision.

      1. “Let the people eat what they want to.”

        How about they “eat what they want to” on your front porch?

  2. Mr. Editor, key word is “when I lived in the Artesia Pilar” where do you live now, and are there any food trucks there?

  3. There is food truck parked in a residential are with trash in the street and with out restroom use. How can you repot them

    1. Call City Hall and ask for Code Enforcement. You can also call the County of Orange and report them to the Health Department.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.