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Food trucks can soon park on Toronto streets (maybe)

Posted by Chris Bateman / March 10, 2014

toronto food trucks park streetToronto food trucks could finally be about to enter the 21st century. Details of the long-awaited shakeup of the city's archaic street vending laws were released earlier this afternoon, giving a first taste of what might be in store this summer.

After months of consultation, city staff suggest tossing out several old bylaws and licensing regulations in favour of something a little more flexible. A new $5,066.69 (yep, and 69 cents) Mobile Food Vending Permit would be created, allowing food trucks to set up in many more places than the current narrow rules allow.

The recommendations will be presented at next Tuesday's licensing and standards committee meeting and passed on with possible changes to city council later in the year. Here are the highlights from the proposed new rules.

ALLOW FOOD TRUCKS TO USE PAY AND DISPLAY PARKING SPOTS

City staff say food trucks should be allowed to use pay and display spaces, lay-bys, and private surface lots provided the location is more than 50 metres from an open restaurant and 30 metres from a school or place of worship. The city estimates there are about 350 places that fit the suggested criteria in Toronto. Permit holders will still have to pay parking and meter fees, though.

As for Green P lots, the Toronto Parking Authority will study the possibility of allowing in food trucks over the summer.

LIMIT FOOD TRUCKS TO TWO PER BLOCK

If the rules are adopted as is, no more than two food trucks will be allowed to operate on a single city block at the same time. This idea appears to be an attempt to prevent sidewalk crowding and traffic congestion caused by parking vehicles but it could also force food truck owners to spread out across the city.

IMPLEMENT A THREE-HOUR TIME LIMIT

Food trucks will not be allowed to sit on prime spots all day. The new bylaw would require truck owners to find a new spot every three hours or risk a fine. Good news for people who like change.

GIVE THE LOCAL BIA AND CITY COUNCILLOR POSSIBLE VETO POWER

Rather than provide a blanket set of rules for every neighbourhood, city staff say the local councillor and BIA should be allowed to suggest no-go areas for food trucks. This could become a source of friction, especially if restaurant owners have sway of the decisions of the BIA. It could also give established business owners the chance to unfairly snuff out potential newcomers.

START VERY SOON

Provided the new laws are approved by the committee and city council gives the green light, the new food truck laws could be in place by May 15, just in time for summer. Any food trucks operating under the old permit must upgrade by December 31, 2016.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Jen Chan/blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

15 Comments

CW / March 10, 2014 at 02:21 pm
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Whats with all these rules. I was hoping to see McDonalds and Tim Hortons trucks lined up down the street.
Chester / March 10, 2014 at 02:26 pm
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$5000 for a license. This city is a big giant cash grab from businesses.
jjjohn / March 10, 2014 at 02:28 pm
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Great more congestion on TO streets by dirty food trucks
Bob replying to a comment from Chester / March 10, 2014 at 02:31 pm
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5k is a deal! No property tax to pay or higher rent to cover the landlord's tax.
Richard S / March 10, 2014 at 02:41 pm
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LOL at all the stupid rules.
Can't be 30 metres from a place of worship or school? Um, ok. Same go for a restaurant? Ice cream truck?
And they still have to pay for parking on top of the $5000 license? That's...strange.

Can anyone name spots in the downtown core that do not have restaurants within 50 metres? I can't.
Untimely / March 10, 2014 at 02:46 pm
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This would have mattered oh say 3-4 years ago when the food truck fade was at its peak.

Now....doesn't matter so much. It's on life support as it is.
O.Chow / March 10, 2014 at 03:12 pm
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What a bunch of negative haters on here...........I don't think I want to run your city
Marc replying to a comment from Bob / March 10, 2014 at 03:12 pm
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Don't bother - Torontonians: want everything, pay for nothing.
iSkyscraper / March 10, 2014 at 03:14 pm
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I would like to know more about the logic that went into this, to make sure it was based on best practices from other cities (and there are many good cases to emulate) and not reinvent-the-wheel navel gazing typical of Toronto bureaucrats.

For example, in New York a permit costs under $200 but they must be 200 ft from a school. Why $5000 and 30 m in Toronto? Why two trucks per block when other cities set a limit of one or no limit at all? And where on earth did the stupid idea for a political veto come from?

What is the reasoning for which practices to adopt? The city needs to explain this better for me to believe this won't end up as Food A La Truck.
humble pie / March 10, 2014 at 06:43 pm
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I love big weiners in my bun. Mmmmmm...makes my mouth water. Sometimes I have to lick the mayo off while it's dripping...yummy! :)
Mr. Piglet Oink / March 10, 2014 at 10:04 pm
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Thats absolute buloxs...do the gitz at silly hall even know how to spell 'food truck'? Coughing up $5grand aint like the food truck owners have stacks of bills under their mattresses. Gas prices are now at their highest. Cost of food is only going up. And food trucks are technically seasonal businesses. The reality is most food businesses are hurting. Even ikea upped their food prices and scaled back on their $1 breakfasts. Times are tough. Food establishments need to be working together so everyone can eat a slice of the pie. Bet the restaurants against food trucks are owned by trust-fund kids born with a gold spoon in their mouth (you know who you are). Shame shame on silly hall and the BIA's. Its the people that will lose out to meals-on-wheels.
Arma / March 10, 2014 at 10:53 pm
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Sadly this is another Toronto cash-grab, these trucks are not a fad, its street food, street is not a fad no matter how you slice it. Its a culture that exists in every major city in the world and thrives, its ingrained into society of great nations... but here in Toronto we fight change, we embrace big business and destroy the little guy.

So what if Subway or McDonalds makes 10k less a year, you think there going out of business? BS.

Toronto likes to pretend its world class, this city is neither world class or first class.

-AG
seanm / March 10, 2014 at 10:55 pm
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I'd really like to see relaxed rules when it comes to food trucks, but considering the significantly reduced overhead of operating a food truck versus and restaurant, $5000 doesn't really seem all that outrageous. I'd be tempted to feel a bit more compassionate, but they don't really represent much value over a lot of restaurant options either.

Down in the U.S. and other parts of the world food trucks and street foods are truly cheap, delicious eats, but like a lot of trendy things in Toronto, we're gouged for the "privilege" of such coolness. That said, hopefully the food truck scene will evolve and realize its potential as a way to provide quick and convenient food to people who don't have time/want to sit down at a proper restaurant, or have to resort to some bland ubiquitous chain.
Robert Bruce / March 11, 2014 at 09:56 am
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A YOGURTY's food truck? Heathens! Lets set the yogurtys food truck on fire. Whats next? Mcdonalds? Asian Legend? Amaya food truck? Bananas.
roddick / March 11, 2014 at 12:30 pm
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Well, you know what...

This city Toronto, will be a great city to live in:

25 years from NOW!

So, everyone is just part of a big experiment at this point, its truly a bETA city striving to be Alpha.
Its great to see that food trucks finally caught on, cause 3 years back, it was a ghost town as far as that's concerned,
with #toastyzappi only on the scene back in 2009.

I got to say, TO, I'll be back here to retire, but living here has become blaaaaaaaahhhhh ....
Sure, I could get all raved up about all sort of things, and look at it from the positive side, how things are improving :)
That's soooo Cute, don't you think... things are improving :)))
Such a cute city, everyone striving to make it better:)
anyhow ... could write a novel on this topic...

@iSkyscraper - I AGREE, wholly, fully!
TO is an example of how you ENFORCE, ENFORCE and ENFORCE its brainless by laws, even the building code is 70yrs old almost.
ALL made designed to live off FINES, truly sickening ...
I don't think they know what a ' Feasibility Study ' is, or Precedent means. Oh well,

Lets embrace the NEW :)))))))))) right ? whatever that is...

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