Santa Monica Food Truck Lot!

Feb 25

via i.imgur.com

via i.imgur.com

Feb 24

Email Paul Koretz at paul.koretz@lacity.org

The quote in question is - “A lot of businesses in stationary, permitted locations feel it’s unfair competition, and I tend to agree with them,” Koretz said. “There have been problems with these trucks popping up in front of businesses and people’s homes. They’re less of a nuisance in one lot, but I’m not thrilled with that either. I think they work well at construction sites where it’s difficult for workers to have access to other food, but I think that should be their only place in the city.”

Let him know how you feel about the Los Angeles Food Truck Movement! CC me at matt(at)socalmfva.com

Letters to Councilman Koretz

Here is a great email to Councilman Koretz from Zachary Elgart, food truck customer.

Councilman Koretz,

Your unfounded and discriminatory position regarding food trucks and their place in our Los Angeles economy, and dining scene, is shocking.  You should support businesses that try as hard as these people to provide a quality product at a reasonable price!  In an economic climate such as ours, when spending is being cut back by everyone, it is impressive to see the demand that these establishments are able to drum up (i.e. lines around the block).  I understand that some other businesses are suffering, but that is not the fault of anyone but their proprietors.  When confronted with business adversity one needs to adapt.  Also, food trucks encourage Los Angelenos to venture out into parts of their city that they do not usually visit.  My partner and I have been consistently following trucks around Los Angeles from our home here in West L.A. and I know we are only two of the vast numbers of citizens who do the same thing to support this wonderful new industry.  By travelling to other areas within Los Angeles we are getting to know our community much better and appreciate its uniqueness even more, not to mention the money we are spending in other neighborhoods while we are at it.  Is it not true that in a capitalist economy and society that some businesses must suffer for others to prosper?  Who are you to say which businesses deserve the right to succeed?  You need to strongly re-think your stance on this issue, and try the trucks you so quickly admonish before making any more statements or decisions.

Sincerely,

Zachary Elgart

Voter from West L.A.

Feb 23

Dear Mr. Koretz

Mr. Koretz,

In response to your interview in the Park La Brea News / Beverly Press in the article titled, “Mobile Food Trucks are Eating Restaurants’ Lunch.” http://parklabreanewsbeverlypress.com/news/2010/02/mobile-food-trucks-are-eating-restaurants%E2%80%99-lunch/comment-page-1/#comment-61 .

My name is Maxson Smith, and I am the owner/operator of the TastyMeat! truck.  I am writing to voice my concern over your public criticism of the burgeoning “Gourmet Food Truck” industry in the aforementioned article.  To be frank, I find your comments, especially voiced as such from a respected public figure, to be rather brash and ill-informed - if not prejudiced and discriminatory.

To quote:

“A lot of businesses in stationary, permitted locations feel it’s unfair competition, and I tend to agree with them,” Koretz said. “There have been problems with these trucks popping up in front of businesses and people’s homes. They’re less of a nuisance in one lot, but I’m not thrilled with that either. I think they work well at construction sites where it’s difficult for workers to have access to other food, but I think that should be their only place in the city.”

It is my opinion that a man of elected public service serves the constituency best by listening to the will of it’s people.  If, collectively, the 60-odd “gourmet” food trucks are serving 6000-10000 happy customers per day, how can one possibly believe that they have no place in Los Angeles society?  Do you feel the notion of free and unrestricted trade to apply only to business owners in stationary locations?  Is, in your interpretation of the law, a long established business guaranteed greater rights of trade than a newly established business?  Should I not be able to make the complaint that the local “stationary” restaurants are cutting into my profits?  If your answer is no, than your answer is unfairly biased according to your responsibilities as an elected government representative.

By stating that a “lot of businesses in stationary, permitted locations feel it’s unfair competition,” you are giving the people the impression that we are nothing more than a band of illicit gypsies.  I am governed by the same Health Department rules and regulations as any other restaurant in Los Angeles county, and am fully permitted and allowed by state and local law to operate in the manner you feel has “no place” in my city.  Further, I find it personally insulting that you would relegate the fruits of my endless labor to be “A NUISANCE,” and, at that, a nuisance fit only for construction workers.  I am positive that any customer of mine would readily disagree, construction workers included.  I would welcome you to come eat from my menu.  If you are not wholly satisfied, and if you find your meal to be anything short of delicious and of high quality and worthwhile of repeat business, I am happy to refund you (though the situation has yet to arise for us).

I feel that your comments expose an unfair and unjust bias, most likely based on uninformed and preconceived notions.  My profit margin is razor thin, as are the margins of nearly every other food truck in Los Angeles.  It is time-consuming, difficult labor, plagued with unforeseen trials and tribulations.  I work just as hard, and easily harder for my money than most business owners.

Every day, every week, every month, is pure struggle for myself and my young family.  My definition of “unfair” is obviously on the other end of the spectrum than yours.  Features like these, with negative and inflammatory comments, are unfair.  They serve, unfairly, to further the will of a handful of well-connected brick-and-mortar restaurant owners, and to, unfairly, make my struggle at the American Dream just a bit more difficult.

Regards,

Maxson Smith

Chef/Owner

TastyMeat!

323.206.MEAT

323.206.6328

http://www.tastymeat.org

http://www.twitter.com/tastymeat

Feb 11

Food Truck Lot Downtown…

Food truck lot 2.0…  Hopefully, LA will be cooler about a food truck lot.  We’ve named the new lot the Traction Food Truck Lot, mostly because we’re going to have multiple lots downtown.  There will be 5 trucks today, Fishlips, Barbie Q’s, Dosa, Komodo (excited to try this truck), and Kabob N’ Roll.  I’ll be there all day directing traffic…  Come by and say hi.  For more info about the food truck industry, follow http://mattgeller.tumblr.com

Don’t forget about the LA Street Food Festival… http://www.lastreetfoodfest.com

Jan 22

LA Business Journal Article on Food Trucks

Food Truck Fundraiser for Haiti-Tomorrow 11am-4pm -

(via goldenhelmet)

Jan 18

Santa Monica City Council Meeting 1/19

By some miracle, we actually got on the agenda for tomorrow’s City Council meeting. Santa Monica rarely moves this fast for anything.  A big thanks to everyone who emailed and/or called into express your support for the SM food truck lot!  I’m sure it had a big impact.

If you would like to come show your support at the City Council meeting, please be advised that we are LAST on the agenda.  I’m trying to get a couple trucks down there so we can all hang out, eat and discuss the meeting.

If you have any further questions, feel free to email me at smfoodtrucklot(at)gmail.com or matt(at)socalmfva.com

Where:  City Hall Council Chambers 1685 Main Street
When: 1/19/2010 Meeting begins at 5:45pm (but we’re last on the agenda)
Agenda: http://tinyurl.com/y863xbh

Our agenda item:

13-K:   Request of Councilmember Holbrook that staff study the idea of allowing food vending 

trucks to occupy certain locations within the City to sell takeout food, and return with 

suggestions such as text amendments and/or other possible regulations to make this a workable and legal activity.





Jan 11

http://www.smdp.com/Articles-c-2010-01-10-67510.113116_SMs_code_enforcement_leaves_lingering_bad_taste.html -

More about the SM Food Truck Lot

Jan 09

From the Planner

Date: January 7, 2010

Mayor and City Council Eileen Fogarty, Director of Planning and Community Development Food Vending Trucks

Introduction

On January 4, 2010 the City’s Code Compliance staff received a complaint regarding the use of a vacant lot at 1401 Santa Monica Boulevard for the Gourmet Food Truck Corner, a staging area for food vending trucks. The use is not permitted at the subject site which is in the C4 Highway Commercial District. The City issued a Notice of Violation to the property owner for violating the provisions of the Zoning Ordinance as well as other Municipal Code provisions related to business operations. This Information Item is intended to provide the Council with information on the specific Code violations and what actions Council may wish to take if there is a desire to identify food vending trucks as uses permitted in the Code.

Background

Food vending trucks offering a range of dining choices is a relatively new phenomenon which has spread across the Los Angeles area. In addition to the traditional food vending trucks that have served the area for years offering simple fare, the new trucksoffer a broad range of international food items in addition to gourmet hamburgers, hotdogs, sandwiches, and desserts. Typically, the vending trucks park in popular commercial areas for varying lengths of time and then travel to a new location, often communicating the new destination through Twitter and/or a business website. In Santa Monica, a City vendor permit, which has location and time restrictions, is required for the vending trucks. The Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association has recently been established to advocate for the group (http://site.socalmfva.com). There has been concern about food vending trucks from established restaurants in the areas where these trucks congregate and from organizations such as the Bayside District Corporation.

A representative of the owner of 1401 Santa Monica Boulevard contacted City staff in early December about the possibility of using the lot for a food vendor courtyard. The representative was told that the use was not permitted by Code.

Discussion

On January 5, 2010, the property owner received a Notice of Violation for violations of three sections of the Municipal Code - one section of Article VI Business, Professions and Trades and two sections of Article IX Planning and Zoning (Zoning Ordinance). With respect to the violations of Article VI, the property operator did not have a proper business license per SMMC Section 6.04.020. With respect to the violations of the Zoning Ordinance, per SMMC Section 9.04.08.22.020 food vending trucks, considered fast food uses, are not permitted at the subject site which is located in the C4 Highway Commercial District. Fast food uses, which are defined as restaurants in SMMC Section

9.04.02.030.735 are not included in SMMC Section 9.04.10.02.340 which specifically identifies the types of uses that may be permitted outside an enclosed building. Fast food uses in the district must be within an enclosed building and are subject to approval of a Conditional Use Permit. Thus fast food uses that are not in an enclosed building are not permitted. The Notice of Violation was also issued for a lack of a Temporary Use Permit for the operation pursuant to SMMC Section 9.04.20.06.020(j).

If the Council wishes to permit food vending trucks at the subject site or other sites in the City, Zoning Ordinance amendments would be required. The text amendments would include identifying this activity as a conditional use that is permitted in specific zoning districts.

Prepared by: Paul Foley, Principal Planner

Let’s email this guy - paul.foley@smgov.net