Alexandria Loosens Rules for Food Trucks
Alexandria has long had some of the most limiting restrictions on food trucks in the region. In fact, mobile vendors are currently banned, except for construction sites and permitted special events. That's all about to change: the Alexandria City Council voted over the weekend to allow food trucks to vend at parks, schools, churches, farmers' markets, and other private property over a 16-month trial period beginning July 1. (This is good news for anyone who has wanted to see food trucks during Port City Brewing Company's weekend tastings and tours.)
The new rules also now allow trucks to get licensed and permitted by the city and set up a regulatory framework for the health department and fire marshall to inspect them. Previously, these inspections were done ad hoc, driven by special events.
On-street vending, however, is still illegal in Alexandria, which means you won't see trucks on the main drag of Old Town for now. The city council will revisit the new pilot program by October 2015.
The city of Alexandria formed a task force consisting of food truck owners, restaurant owners, and community residents to take a look at the ban last year. And the DMV Food Truck Association has been lobbying hard to loosen the restrictions. The group launched its "Alexandria Hearts Food Trucks Campaign" in January with a website that aimed to dispel myths about food trucks and rally supporters to contact city councilmembers.
"This was a great outcome," says DMVFTA Political Director Che Ruddell-Tabisola. "We're going to continue talking about on-street vending, and I think because the way the ordinance passed, this will come before the city council again."
Photo by Darrow Montgomery