The food truck is here to stay in Cedarburg, but it comes with a catch.
The Cedarburg Common Council voted to allow food trucks to operate in the city at its April 18 meeting. It was the culmination of 11 months of debates and revisions to decide whether or not these mobile vendors should be allowed to operate at all in Cedarburg.
New regulations will prohibit food trucks from operating on public streets, which would eliminate the ability to park on Washington Avenue during regular lunch hours. However, trucks would still be allowed on nonresidential private property, such as in areas near the Cultural Center and the Art Museum for catered events. Trucks will also be able to operate during festivals, Summer Sounds, and farmers markets so long as they are located within the determined areas for these events.
One notable rule that was eliminated was the requirement that trucks would have to move every 15 minutes, which was barely enforced under previous city guidelines. Food truck operators will also have to pay a $100 annual fee.
In attendance at the April 18 meeting were several restaurant owners who have opposed the food trucks out of fear of losing business to competition with a perceived unfair advantage. This contingent included Steve and Christian Leonard, owners and operators of Sal's Pizza on Washington Avenue.
"This debate is about fairness to brick-and-mortar restaurant owners like us," said Christian Leonard. "This city is about preserving a historical and cultural identity, and I just don't think these trucks fit that aesthetic."
The council voted 4-3 in favor of the new regulations. Alderman Jack Arnett, who has expressed his support of the trucks for several months, believes that any loose ends in the new rules will work themselves out.
"There were concerns raised about the number of trucks that should be allowed to operate within the city," said Arnett. "Honestly, I don't expect to see a line of trucks rolling into the city any time soon."
The new guidelines for food trucks will go into effect in time for the popular summer operating hours for food trucks. Trucks that may have licenses under the previous guidelines, such as Yellowbellies or Blue Cow Creperie, have the option to renew their licenses under the new changes. However, the council made it clear that the 15-minute rule will be enforced if the existing trucks choose not to renew.