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Urban County Council takes first step toward approving food trucks

Customers lined up for food on Friday, April 27, 2012 at a lot between Vine St. and Main St. in Lexington, Ky.  This was the Bluegrass Food Blast, an event to share with Lexington the culinary offerings of mobile vendors. The goal was "to demonstrate to Lexingtonians the unique vibrancy that is food truck cuisine."  (news release).  Photo by David Perry | Staff
Customers lined up for food on Friday, April 27, 2012 at a lot between Vine St. and Main St. in Lexington, Ky. This was the Bluegrass Food Blast, an event to share with Lexington the culinary offerings of mobile vendors. The goal was "to demonstrate to Lexingtonians the unique vibrancy that is food truck cuisine." (news release). Photo by David Perry | Staff HERALD-LEADER

Lexington's Urban County Council took the first step Thursday toward approving a six-month pilot program to determine how to regulate food trucks operating in on-street parking spaces.

Council gave first reading to two ordinances that outline when and where food trucks can set up in on-street parking. The vote to approve the pilot project was unanimous, with all council members present.

Council member Steve Kay said he still had concerns about the project because it was not clear who would enforce the ordinance — would it be the Lexington police department or the Lexington Parking Authority, which installs and controls parking meters throughout the city?

Kay also said the boundaries of five proposed downtown food truck zones were not clear. At Tuesday's work session, council eliminated a food truck zone on Elm Tree Lane near the Lyric Theatre at the request of council member Chris Ford, who said it violated the provision that food trucks must be 100 feet from residential areas.

However, council did approve food trucks on nearby Corral Street between Spruce Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard. That change is pending before the Lexington Parking Authority.

"So I'm uncomfortable with the uncertainty," Kay said. He said he hoped the issues would be clarified because the ordinances will come up at the next council meeting, in two weeks, for second reading.

Food trucks will be allowed in metered parking spaces in the food truck zones between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. But from 10 p.m. to 3 p.m., trucks can park in almost any metered parking space that is at least 100 feet from a business that is open.

Council member Ed Lane said it would be hard for council to anticipate every issue that will come up pertaining to food trucks. Besides, he said, that is the purpose of the pilot program — to let food trucks operate on public property for six months and see where the rules might need to be tweaked.

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