LONG BEACH — Should food trucks be allowed in Long Beach?
Long Beach City Council tried to answer at its Sept. 4 meeting what role food trucks should have in the city.
Council members discussed the possibility of allowing food trucks to operate in the city versus having an annual food-truck event.
The council decided to reach out to the Long Beach Merchants Association to see if the association would be interested in putting on a food-truck event. If the event happens, the council will review how it went and then re-evaluate whether food trucks should be allowed in the city.
Councilors agreed they wouldn’t want more than two to three food trucks allowed in the city. The food trucks would need to be on at least six-month leases, Mayor Jerry Phillips said.
Phillips said he recently conducted a survey of citizens and merchants and found most businesses were against food trucks. He also said that if food trucks were allowed in the city, they wouldn’t be allowed on Pacific Highway.
Cathy Tenney, who owns Captain Bob’s Chowder with her husband Bob Tenney, voiced concern over the possibility of food trucks.
“I’m not opposed to the once-a-year event for the food trucks. I think that’s a good idea,” Cathy Tenney said. “But bringing trucks in here for six months? It’s gonna kill us.”
Cathy Tenney said restaurants already being shorthanded is one of the reasons food trucks would hurt merchants.
Phillips also questioned whether bringing in food trucks would hurt struggling merchants by taking away needed help.
Phillips called the possibility of allowing food trucks in the city a double-edged sword.
“It’d be great to have variety,” Phillips said. “But even though variety is a positive it’s really a negative because we cannot dictate what a food truck sells. So for those who want Greek food, Asian food; we’re not going to get that. They can sell a hamburger, hot dog, pizza, chili, chowder or anything else and there’s not a thing we can do about it.”
Councilor Tina McGuire said the city’s short business season is why she doesn’t support bringing food trucks into Long Beach. Phillips also noted that other cities such as Cannon Beach and Seaside are struggling with food trucks.
Councilor Del Murray said he doesn’t support bringing food trucks into the city but that “we have to let people start businesses here.”
Murray said a concern he’s heard from residents is that businesses close down too early.
“You can’t get food or just something to go after 5, 6 o’clock. Almost everybody’s shutting down,” Murray said.
The council discussed the possibility of having mandatory business hours but no one was in support of the practice.
The discussion on food truck support was limited to new businesses. Current businesses which have added structures on their properties weren’t a concern to the council.