The city is developing an ordinance allowing food trucks, but only at special events.
The ordinance is designed to protect local restaurants from transitory competition while leaving open the possibility for greater allowance of food trucks in the future.
“We’ll start with this and see what happens,” City Attorney Marty Shanahan told the Joliet City Council Land Use and Legislative Committee, which voted, 3-0, Tuesday to recommend the ordinance to the full City Council for approval.
The council will consider the ordinance sometime in August.
The ordinance puts into law what already has been the practice in Joliet. But the city previously had no ordinance regulating food trucks.
“Historically, food trucks have been allowed in Joliet, but only in certain circumstances,” Shanahan said. “This ordinance does not designate any food truck zones, but, again, allows food trucks at special events.”
Shanahan told the committee that the ordinance “is intended for the protection of our local restaurants.”
He noted that the new vendor renting space for a coffee shop at the Gateway Center train station was concerned that the city might allow a food truck to park outside the station and cut into his business.
Under the proposed rules, food trucks would get a special event permit to operate only at that event. The food truck operator would need a host location.
For downtown events, Shanahan said the City Center Partnership would be a host sponsor, but businesses could host trucks for special events.