BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — Mobile food vendors met with city officials Wednesday to discuss revising a 2012 mobile food vendors ordinance that only allows five mobile food vendors to operate legally within city limits at a time.
Vendors say this ordinance is hindering their business.
“We did talk about not limiting the number of trucks, which we agree is the right thing to do,” said Steven Brown-Cestero, president of the Southwest Florida Food Truck Association.
The suggested changes include only limiting how many mobile food vendors can operate at a location rather than how many vendors can operate in the entire city.
“If the market supports it and the area in which they are operating supports it, then they should be allowed to,” said Cestero.
Community members also had an opportunity to express their thoughts on this ordinance during the city council meeting.
“I think part of the delight of going to any of these venues where there are food trucks is you get a taste of Bonita,” said a resident.
“We have 56,000 residents in Bonita; it’s ludicrous to cap the number of food trucks at five,” said another resident.
However, not everyone was in support of the expansion. Some expressed concerns for existing establishments.
“These people have made a significant investment, risked their families fortunes, to invest in our successful city, and I just want to make sure we respect those brick and border restaurants and organizations that are already attracting people,” said a resident.
Mobile food vendors say they are not there to knock restaurants down.
“We try to enhance — like in some major cities in the country, they’ve actually revitalized areas that were completely depleted,” said one food truck owner.
Cestero says he’s pleased that the city is willing to work towards getting the ordnance revised.
“Part of that is educating people, but the other part is ensuring that we, as food truck owners, also follow any regulations that we agree to,” said Cestero.
Cestero adds that one of his priorities is for people in the community to see these changes as something positive for economic growth.