Food trucks get the green light in Riverside County

Likely spurred on by two well-attended food truck rallies in the parking lot of the building where their meetings are held, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today (December 10) to regulate food trucks (where the food is prepared on the truck) and allow them to operate in the county.

Of course, there are tweaks to the ordinance that still need to be worked out. The first issue that came up was that the truck operators will likely be required to add the county to their insurance policy.

You know, in case someone gets food poisoning from their trucks and decides to sue the county.

Really? Who does that? But I digress…

Since the changes in the ordinance, championed by Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, were drafted by the county’s Department of Environmental Health they deal primarily with public health aspects.

Other issues raised during the discussion involved where and when the trucks should be allowed to operate.

Supervisor Jeff Stone, whose district includes Temecula’s Wine Country and historic downtown Idyllwild, raised concerns that the trucks would disrupt existing brick and mortar establishments by operating unfettered in those areas.

He noted he would be open to allowing food trucks at festivals in those areas, but would like to see their presence restricted in those areas unless requested in writing.

Others wanted to protect downtown Riverside eateries by barring food trucks from operating there during lunchtime.

Another issue raised was truck operations near schools.

Those issues could possibly be dealt with countywide by amending the ordinance with land use or zoning restrictions, but that’s unlikely.

More likely is that individual cities will enact their own ordinances limiting the trucks by time or by place.

The smaller additions, such as the insurance requirement, are likely to be drafted and voted on in the next meeting or two.

Until today’s vote, Riverside County was the last remaining county in the state that barred food trucks from operating on a daily basis.

Barring any further delays, the revised ordinance is set to take effect April 8, 2014.

Click here to read the ordinance revisions in full.

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