Tucson City Mulls New Rules for Food Truck Owners

Cooking isn't merely a profession for Gabriela Delgadillo; it's a heartfelt passion. Crafting her sweet potato roll, she envisions the joy it will bring to her customers, forging connections through great food.

Nine months ago, she fulfilled her dream by opening Samurai Sombrero Sushi at the Pit on 22nd Street and Pantano Road. Her excitement has been unwavering since.

Tucson City Mulls New Rules for Food Truck Owners

However, the City of Tucson is contemplating new regulations for food trucks stationed at permanent locations owned by a collective owner, such as the Pit. One proposal suggests prohibiting food trucks from utilizing outdoor internal combustion generators.

Delgadillo voices her concerns: "If something happens here and we’re not able to use electricity, then we can use our generator as a backup, so I feel like that is a big concern."

These potential rules wouldn't affect food trucks at temporary locations like outdoor events or fairs.

The City of Tucson's Planning Commission recently held two virtual public feedback sessions with 65 participants. Noise from generators emerged as a concern, prompting a consideration to restrict food trucks to inverters, quieter alternatives. Additionally, the City seeks to ensure that food courts, like the Pit, have sufficient electricity, parking, and restrooms.

One of the proposed changes limits food trucks to one parking space per truck, a proposition that Delgadillo thinks should be reconsidered to accommodate more food trucks: "The more trucks that are here, there is variety and there are more customers that want to come and that’s what we want."

Another potential change would permit commercial kitchens for vendors. Joel Quijada, owner of Sweet Rolls and More, sees this as an opportunity to streamline food preparation. However, he opposes the idea of mandating food trucks to use external kitchens rather than their in-truck facilities.

Regarding other vendors, the City aims to allocate over fifty percent of the food court to businesses that prepare food. Quijada concurs with the focus on food but advocates for a balanced approach that still welcomes other vendors.

The City recently approved a public feedback meeting scheduled for October 18. These proposed regulations are subject to further consideration by the mayor and city council at the year's end.

For now, Quijada appreciates the City's continued support for food trucks at the Pit, fostering community connections: "It would be great to bring the community together, and then that the City accommodates all of us."

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