Grouchy John's uses both a trailer and a stand-alone coffee shop
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
The battle between food trucks and restaurants continues in the city of Las Vegas. The City Council is now looking at an ordinance that would keep the trucks at a certain distance from established dining spots.
At the Arts Factory in downtown Las Vegas, the Bistro is treading water. The owner, Wes Myles, said business is picking up, but he's being pillaged, he says, by food trucks.
"We've had trucks block the entrance to our restaurant," Myles said.
Keeping the trucks away from his restaurant has been a challenge, but an ordinance being kicked around the City Council right now may change that. First, Mayor Carolyn Goodman proposed a 150-foot buffer between the trucks and restaurants. The three-member Recommending Committee of the City Council, however, opted for 300 feet.
"I think it's a legitimate argument," said John Ynigues, owner of Grouchy John's Coffee. "No one wants someone to roll up and start serving food. I understand that."
Grouchy John's, like many of the trucks in the Las Vegas area, travels around town in a small trailer. He believes a 300-foot buffer is too much.
"Especially downtown," he said. "There are so many restaurants. Three hundred feet - no food truck can work downtown."
Several restaurant owners want even more of a buffer - at 800 feet.
Councilman Bob Coffin sided with the restaurants.
"The 150 and 300 (feet) - that was a number pulled out of the air," Coffin said. "I pulled it out because somebody thought it would be a workable number."
The other two members of the committee, Ricki Barlow and Stavros Anthony, both voted for 300 feet.
Coffin is concerned because the city is encouraging restaurants to relocate to downtown and other neighborhoods at the same time truck owners are coming and going.
"These are gypsies," he said. "And we love them. They should fly around and service people where there is a need."
Myles agreed that truck owners should be able to do business, but asks for a level playing field.
"All the restaurants down here are mom and pops," he said. "I have one restaurant. The guys over there - one restaurant! I mean this is it."
Myles added that the distance factor is the wrong issue to argue.
"The real issue is they need to create areas for (trucks) to come and gather - set days and times and create the event that everyone wants," he said. "Not, ‘Let's pillage here and drive around here.'"
Several truck owners said they would be OK with the 150-foot buffer idea.
The ordinance, if it passes, would be a moot point if a business allows a truck to set up on its property - even if it's right next to an established restaurant.
The City Council is scheduled to look at the proposal and possibly vote on it on Aug. 15.
Copyright 2012 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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