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Restaurant owners want restrictions on food trucks in Downtown Pensacola
PENSACOLA -- Food trucks are a big fad in cities all across the country, but there are pretty much none here in Pensacola. Well if it's up to a group of restaurant owners, it could stay that way. They are trying to place restrictions on food trucks that park directly outside their businesses.
The names signed on the proposed ordinance are many of the big players in town. On it, the Studer family plus the owners of New York Nicks, Hopjacks, Fish House, plus more. They are all trying to place restrictions on food trucks. Collier Merrill owns Fish House, Atlas and Jackson's. He supports food trucks. But he says it's not fair, they can set up shop anywhere for free. He said,
"They can pull right in front of Hopjacks who is paying thousands of dollars in property tax. They have tons of employees who they are paying. I just want it to be fair, especially after all the hard work by the restauranteurs. "
Right now, there is one food truck from Orange Beach that stops at different locations in Pensacola. The current rules are the trucks can park anywhere as long as they are in the right away and they pay the parking meter. Well this group of restaurant owners say there needs to be more regulation. They are asking for the trucks to be at least 3 football fields away from any restaurant in the city. The trucks could only be in one location for 3 hours and then they would have to move at least 1000 feet away from that location.
But many people are against that. They feel the more, the merrier. Kiersten Ramirez said, " I can see why restaurant owners would not like food trucks nearby. But it's an open market, whoever has the best food will win in the end. Competition is good."
Jeannie Stoos said, "This is hub of downtown, we need all the business we can get down here."
Merril says he's all for competition and agrees the ordinance needs to be tweaked so it works for everybody. He says the end goal is to create some guidelines so both restaurants and the trucks can co-exist. He said, "Is 1000 feet right? Is 100 feet right? Who knows, but we need to get everybody in a room."