Changes In Proximity, Fees Likely for Emeryville Street-Food Vendors

carlos a./Yelp
The Seoul on Wheels truck attracts a lunch crowd on Emeryville's Hollis Street.
​The head of the task force looking at changes to Emeryville's mobile vending rules says she's confident street-food vendors and restaurant will be able to agree on a set of recommendations it can present to the City Council weeks from now. After last week's inaugural meeting, task force chair Gail Lillian, owner of the Liba Falafel truck, is hopeful the 13-member body can succeed in what she calls "solidifying a clarified ordinance" by early December. Cafe Aquarius owner Patrick Feehan is co-chair.

The East Bay city called for re-examining its decades-old mobile vending ordinance after restaurant owners and the Chamber of Commerce complained to the City Council that the popularity of street food in Emeryville was hurting their bottom lines. The task force is slated to meet every two weeks until it drafts its recommendations.

"We laid all the issues on the table and decided which of those issues would be discussed at the next meeting," Lillian says. "The main issue that we're going to be looking at over and over again is proximity, both to brick and mortars and to each other as street food vendors." Lillian thinks the task force could ultimately recommend setting a cap on how many mobile vendors are operating at the same time.

Lillian also thinks the city might soon place a moratorium on new vendor permits until the ordinance is amended.

Feehan reckons the sticking points to include possible restrictions on the number of mobile licenses the city issues, a bump-up in fees, and stricter rules about mobile vendors duplicating items served in nearby eateries.

The task force meets again on Monday, Oct. 25, 5:30 p.m. at Emeryville City Hall, 1333 Park, at Hollis. Meetings are open to the public.

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