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Durham Food Truck Rules Discussed

Pie Pushers
Leoneda Inge

The Food Truck scene in Durham is credited with helping to grow the area’s image as a top food destination.  Durham officials are now trying to find a way to update its mobile vending code and keep the food truck business vibrant.

Leoneda Inge:  The City of Durham has been working on changes and updates to its 10-year-old mobile vending code for several months.  But when they announced those changes last week, the food truck community cried foul.  Grace Smith got a lot of those complaints.

Grace Smith:  I filtered through the many email responses that I received, all very professionally delivered and kind, thank you very much, no personal attacks and I appreciate that very much.

Smith is the Durham City-County Planning Supervisor.   She moderated last night’s special information session on changes to the mobile vending code.  But before taking questions and comments from the capacity crowd she announced updates to the new changes.  First, instead of food trucks having to park 100 feet away from the entrance of a restaurant it’s now 50 feet.  And food trucks are again allowed to park near Durham Central Park and the Farmer’s Market.

Grace Smith:  I’m glad that made you happy.

Lindsay Moriarty is the owner of Monuts Donuts. The 27-year-old says he’s happy with the NEW proposed changes. For seven months she hustled donuts around town riding a tricycle. Now Moriarty is moving into her own shop.

Lindsay Moriarty:  I was very concerned about the exclusionary zones because that would have kicked me out of my spot at the Durham Farmer’s Market and without that spot and me being able to sell donuts on Saturday I’d be unemployed right now.

Nick Hawthorne-Johnson opened The Cookery where many new food entrepreneurs share kitchen space.  He says there shouldn’t be a rift between restaurants and food trucks.

 Nick Hawthorne-Johnson:  Food trucks are the fertilizer that grow restaurants that create more tax revenue. So to choke them off would be to stop watering the garden.

These new code changes won’t be finalized for several months according to the city. Officials have made it clear this dish isn’t quite done yet. 

Leoneda Inge is WUNC’s race and southern culture reporter, the first public radio journalist in the South to hold such a position. She also is co-host of the podcast Tested and host of the special podcast series, PAULI. Leoneda is the recipient of numerous awards from AP, RTDNA and NABJ. She’s been a reporting fellow in Berlin and Tokyo. You can follow her on Twitter @LeonedaInge.
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