New proposed food truck regulations debated as legislation moves through Milwaukee City Hall

NOW: New proposed food truck regulations debated as legislation moves through Milwaukee City Hall

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) - Proposed regulations over food trucks in Milwaukee was at the center of debate at a committee hearing Tuesday, May 16.

The Common Council's Licensing Committee took up the legislation authored by Alds. JoCasta Zamarripa and Jonathan Brostoff.

Among the members of the public giving testimony were residents and owners of brick-and-mortar restaurants and businesses.

"When we get to the office the next morning, there's trash everywhere, it's in our parking lot, this is caused by customers and operators," said Eric Wagner, a downtown business owner.

"Food truck operators, you guys need to step forward, you need to get to know your neighbors," Michael Vitucci, the owner of Uncle Buck's said at the meeting.

"You don't need nine to 11 vehicles, food trucks in a three-block radius, it's just too much," a resident of the Burnham Park neighborhood told committee members.

The proposed legislation aims to replace the current solution of a patchwork of bans in certain parts of the city.

Some food truck owners believe they are being unfairly targeted.

"There's many allegations of bad players being around there, let me be clear, none of these guys are playing games, so they are not players, they are business owners and they are trying to work in downtown," Walter Garron of the Taco and Food Trucks Unidos group said.

Proposed legislation creates city-wide regulations to address littering and food disposal, as well as allowing alders to create two kinds of food truck zones in their districts. One limits the number of trucks in one particular area to address density concerns. The other type of zone limits whether trucks close at 1 a.m., instead of 3 a.m.

"Having us close at 1 a.m., it will be a problem for me, and it's going to lower the sales, especially because you know a lot of the sales comes from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m.," Abdallah Ismail, the owner of The Fatty Patty Food Truck told CBS 58.

Authors of the proposal hope the compromise they've struck can work.

"We felt that was just a solution for this specific downtown area and so we created the food truck zone with the 1 a.m. close time, while the rest of the city gets to continue to enjoy the late night hours for food trucks," Ald. JoCasta Zamarripa told CBS 58.

The committee voted to approve the measure. It will get another hearing on Thursday, May 18 with the expectation it reaches the full Common Council at the end of the month.

A representative from Mayor Cavalier Johnson's office said the mayor would sign the legislation if it reaches his desk in its current form.

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