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Local

DeKalb officials say food truck regulations not as rigid as made out to be

Veronica Garcia-Martinez, co-owner of Tinez Tacos, discusses food truck regulations Wednesday in the kitchen of her business' building in DeKalb.
Veronica Garcia-Martinez, co-owner of Tinez Tacos, discusses food truck regulations Wednesday in the kitchen of her business' building in DeKalb.

DeKALB – In response to criticism from a local food truck vendor about the cost and overall tediousness of the food truck permitting process, city officials said there are fee waivers available for such businesses.

Veronica Garcia-Martinez, co-owner and business manager for Tinez Tacos, told the Daily Chronicle that she would consider coming back to DeKalb on a regular basis if the city re-evaluates how it deals with its mobile food vendors. For now, however, Garcia-Martinez said it is not worth it to obtain a monthly permit, which requires a $25 application fee and a $50 monthly fee.

In a post on the city’s website Friday, city officials said they were not contacted by Garcia-Martinez, and therefore did not have an opportunity to assist her with possible fee waivers.

Under city code, any person who feels that the cost of licensing and investigation would cause a hardship can appeal to the mayor. The mayor then can make a determination upon examination of the person’s financial records or other information he feels is necessary. If the mayor finds a hardship exists, he can reduce or waive licensing and investigative costs.

City Council members evaluated the need for food truck licensure in 2013 and unanimously determined that the current ordinance and fee structure was appropriate, according to the web post.

However, the city is conducting “beta tests” for updates to the city code meant to reduce the scope of regulations while still protecting public safety.

After the Kishwaukee Sunrise Rotary Club’s 2017 TruckTober food truck event, concerns were raised about the food truck permitting process for a temporary event, according to the post. Since then, city staff have worked to streamline the process for the Rotary Club’s 2018 event.

A number of other public event organizers also are looking at new approaches to publicly serving alcohol as well as other regulations. Based on the lessons learned from such events, staff will recommend updates to the city code ahead of the 2019 event, according the web post.

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