LEXINGTON, KY (WKYT) -- Food truck supporters and detractors alike met today for a contentious meeting to discuss the future of the mobile meal trucks in Lexington's public places.
At the moment, food trucks -- self-contained small restaurants that often park outside bars and businesses to serve portable meals to diners on the go -- are allowed to operate on private property.
Last year, a work group in favor of food trucks proposed that the trucks be allowed to operate on public property. Many downtown restaurants voiced concern about the idea, citing fears that allowing trucks to set up nearby would hurt their businesses -- a dire prospect, since they claim that Lexington is already over-saturated with restaurants.
Last year, the city shot down the idea altogether, but since then, Vice Mayor Linda Gorton formed a task force to take a closer look at the issue.
Today, that task force met to review a "drafted ordinance" that proposes initial rules and regulations for the operation of food trucks. Many were on hand, including health department officials, food truck owners and employees, city leaders, law enforcement officials, and someone representing the area's restaurants.
Food truck advocates seemed cheered by the council's willingness to at least hear the issue. One food truck owner was optimistic. "The council has made great progress from where we were a year ago to where we are now," said Jason Cullen. "It's leaps and bounds."
The representative of some of the downtown restaurants was not quite as enthusiastic about the prospect. "Restaurants want to participate in the food truck industry; they want to grow with it," said Gene Williams. "The way we do this and the way we integrate a new aspect of our industry, we have to be careful... We don't want to jeopardize our existing efforts in creating an independent, interesting downtown for restaurants."
Officials said the next meeting will be held on February 14th.