Food truck owners sue city over rules

November 14, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Food trucks in Chicago now have designated areas to park, but they are restricted from being 200 feet from a restaurant. The law suit, which was filed Wednesday, seeks to invalidate that part of the ordinance

The lawsuit also seeks to eliminate a rule requiring food trucks to install GPS tracking devices. Attorneys for the food truck operators say that requirement is unconstitutional.

Some food truck owners say the rules are unfair and are fighting City Hall.

"Competition is the American way. If they don't want to step up their game, I'll step up my game. That's no problem. If I don't do well, I'll fail. If they do well, they'll succeed," said Greg Burke, Schnitzel King food truck.

"It creates more foot traffic and it opens people's eyes to their surroundings. In Chicago, we're all busy, we're from point A to point B. Maybe they see the food truck but maybe they also see the pizza shop as well," said Laura Pekarik, Cupcakes for Courage food truck.

As the lunchtime winded down at Keefer's food truck Wednesday, managing partner Glenn Keefer shared his experience of the expense and time to establish a successful restaurant. He thinks keeping food trucks at a distance is fair and the new city rules need to be given a chance.

"I think it's early to be making wholesale changes. Maybe we can grow the stands. Maybe they can pay their fair share," said Keefer.

Every other Wednesday, Renee Medlock looks forward to getting empanadas from the 5411 food truck. She welcomes more food options in the Loop.

"It would be great. Variety, variety - we need that," said Medlock.

The city will review the complaint.

A city spokesman says the new ordinance allowing food trucks to operate in specified areas helps the emerging industry to flourish.

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