New DC food truck regulations received mixed reviews


WASHINGTON, December 2, 2013 — This week, Washington DC implemented new rules for food trucks that operate in the city. The requirements include dedicated spots for food trucks, and a lottery system by which the locations are assigned. There are 95 spots available in eight locations, including Farragut Square, Franklin Square, George Washington University, L’Enfant Plaza, Capitol Riverfront, Metro Center, Union Station, and Virginia Avenue/State Department.

The new rules are not popular with some, even resulting in a critical response from the Editorial Board of the Washington Post, who said of the rules “Now District regulators are threatening to choke [the food trucks’ industry] growth…

“Food truck associations from across the country wrote a letter to the D.C. Council warning that the regulations “would transform the District overnight from a leader in mobile vending to one of the worst food-truck cities in the nation.” Some food truck operators are threatening to bolt the District for what they see as more hospitable environs in Arlington, while others fear they may go out of business.”

Supporters of the new regulations point to its smooth roll out. “By and large, we’re very pleased with the way this has rolled out so far,” said Doug Povich, co-owner of the Red Hook Lobster Pound trucks and chairman of the DMV Food Truck Association, to the Washington Business Journal. “The trucks I’ve spoken with here are happy they don’t have to get here at 9:30 [a.m.] and fight for spaces.”

According to the Washingtonian, the regulations are backed by strict penalties, “Approximately 200 food trucks are licensed in DC, 107 of which have been allocated spots. There are a total of 95 parking spaces available per day; some food trucks were randomly given spots for four days a week, while others received five. Food trucks that missed the deadline for December will not be able to park at or within 200 feet of prime areas like Farragut Square, and are subject to a $1,000 fine if they do.”

“It’s going to affect us very badly,” said Pervais Hamza, the operator of the Halal Grill food truck, to the Washingtonian, complaining about the long wait for the next round of the lottery. “We don’t know what we are going to do until January. A lot of other trucks are giving up.”

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Rahat Husain
Rahat Husain has been working as a columnist since 2013 when he joined the Communities. With an interest in America and Islam, Rahat is a prolific writer on contemporary and international issues. In addition to writing for the Communities, Rahat Husain is an Attorney based in the Washington DC Metropolitan area. He is the Director of Legal and Policy Affairs at UMAA Advocacy. For the past six years, Mr. Husain has worked with Congressmen, Senators, federal agencies, think tanks, NGOs, policy institutes, and academic experts to advocate on behalf of Shia Muslim issues, both political and humanitarian. UMAA hosts one of the largest gatherings of Shia Ithna Asheri Muslims in North America at its annual convention.