Atlanta moves ahead aggressively with licensing food trucks

In an earlier post — Will Savannah jump on the food truck bandwagon? — I discussed some of my serious doubts about whether Savannah is a viable place for a thriving food truck culture. But as I said in a City Talk column (linked in the above post), I’d love to live in a city vibrant enough to support food trucks.

So I’m not opposed to some efforts to test the waters, and I sure hope we don’t spin our wheels for years discussing policy requirements. After all, there are plenty of models out there that we could follow.

Now, by a 15-0 vote, Atlanta’s city council has made a big move to help such mobile businesses get established. From the AJC today:

The Atlanta City Council on Tuesday voted 15-0 to establish regulations for food vending trucks. That will allow dozens of new vending trucks to operate on private property in commercial areas throughout Atlanta.

The trucks were previously allowed only for special events such as festivals or at special weekly gatherings. Councilman Kwanza Hall said allowing the trucks to expand “is a win-win for the city and vendors.” [. . .]

On the special vending days, between four and 11 trucks are set up. Hall said there are at least 20 vendors waiting in line to get a license from the city to start selling food. He said an additional 30 are waiting to buy trucks and develop their concepts.

Presumably, Atlanta’s ordinance would be one to mimic in terms of state and federal health codes. The idea of limiting trucks to private property is being explored in a number of cities, including Charleston. And we certainly have plenty of private lots that sit empty most of the week — owned by churches. Large employers like hospitals also seem to have ample parking for some number of food trucks.