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Lake View Plans Restrictions to Keep Food Trucks Away from Restaurants

Specific parking locations are in the works to keep the new food truck craze away from brick-and-mortar stores in Lake View.

Although the controversial new Chicago ordinance related to food trucks passed in July, Lake View officials are still looking to specify locations where the vehicles are allowed to park, according to 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney’s office.

Lake View is one of six Chicago communities with such a high concentration of restaurants that it needs to designate exactly where food trucks can park. The city ordinance requires the trucks be parked at least 200 feet from brick-and-mortar restaurants for no more than two hours, but in communities like Lincoln Park and Lake View, parking that far from another restaurant can be tricky.

That’s why the new ordinance is asking Lake View to identify at least five “food truck stalls” throughout the community where the vehicles can temporarily set up shop without affecting business at traditional restaurants.

Bennett Lawson, Tunney’s chief of staff, says Lake View’s chambers of commerce have submitted a list of potential spaces. Now, it’s a waiting game.

“We submitted a list to the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection with suggested locations from the four chambers in Lakeview,” Lawson wrote in an email. “They are still reviewing and surveying the spots, so nothing is set yet. … They are planning on rolling things out this fall, so it shouldn't be too long before we have confirmation.”

"...the city needs to ensure the ordinance for the food trucks protects our small business operators that have paid a high price for operating a business in Chicago.”

While the food truck phenomenon is in full swing in other cities, most notably New York, approving the trucks in Chicago was a challenge. In the 42nd Ward, Alderman Brendan Reilly represents a downtown area swamped with restaurants, and he was worried the trucks would hurt a traditional restaurant’s sales, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Officials in Lake View held similar reservations. Maureen Martino, executive director of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce, says she suggested two food truck stalls in East Lake View that wouldn’t be in direct competition with area brick-and-mortar eateries.

“Simply stated, it would not be good to have a hot dog guy outside a small business owner whose livelihood is the sale of hot dogs, or a pizza truck outside one of our pizzerias,” Martino explained. “There is room enough in the city to have it all work out, and the city needs to ensure the ordinance for the food trucks protects our small business operators that have paid a high price for operating a business in Chicago.”

While the stalls in Lake View have yet to be chosen, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is a strong proponent of food trucks. After the new ordinance passed in July, he said it was a sign of Chicago’s evolution.

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"We finally move forward as a city," he said, according to the Tribune. "Fifty other cities have figured out a way to go forward on food trucks and brick-and-mortar (restaurants). Now, Chicago is known as the Second City, I just wanted to make sure we weren't known as the fifty-second city."

To comply with the new ordinance, each food truck must install a GPS tracker. They are banned from being on the streets between 2 and 5 a.m. Fines for violating the new regulations can reach $2,000.

Lake View Patch will update readers on the location of the food truck stalls when they’re released this fall.

RB September 30, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Food trucks all over Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon....and restaurants do fine. I wish they would keep Walmart on Broadway at Diversey out and protect all the small shops and grocery stores. They allow a category killer to come in and busy themselves protecting restaurants from an non- existent problem.
JW October 01, 2012 at 06:57 PM
The craze out west now is Food Truck Villages... where up to a couple dozen food trucks all set shop in the same little parking lot. They tend to be semi-permanent with picnic tables and landscaping. I've eaten at these in Portland and Venice Beach. They're fantastic!
Andy Ambrosius October 03, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Hey all - an interactive map of the locations submitted for food truck spots was just published: http://patch.com/A-yvb2
Richard November 19, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Let us decide where we want to eat
Richard November 19, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Does the fact that our Alderman owns a brick and mortar restaurant make him bias? Obviously it does

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