Turlock City Council Weighs Downtown Food Truck Ban

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A turf war continues in the City of Turlock as officials consider extending a food truck ban that currently affects the downtown area of the city. After a split decision last week, the city's planning division is now handing over the power to ban food trucks to city council.

It's a family affair for the three co-owners of Romson's Kebab. A food truck that sits on West Canal Drive, blocks away from the heart of downtown Turlock. Co-owner Yoli Yonan says business has been O.K.

"It’s not bad but I can tell it’s not super, super good,” she told FOX40 Monday.

Yonan juggles two jobs to make ends meet and could not meet us in person. While business is warming up, she said she's concerned about the existing ban on food trucks in the Downtown area.

"There’s been a moratorium on issuing the temporary mobile food facilities in the downtown since December of 2013,” Deborah Whitmore, the Deputy Director Development Services with the city’s Planning Division explained.

Whitmore said current rules ban food trucks from setting up shop in the core of downtown.

“But they would be limited to only 30 minutes at a location,” Whitmore said.

Since the planning commission was split on deciding whether to change the current ban, city council will now decide.

In the past, food truck owners have told FOX40 they feel a ban is unfair. Stating they pay taxes and fees just like any other brick and mortar business. Business owners have argued they pay taxes, as well. An extra 42 cents per square foot and in the fight over location, council will also have to consider aesthetics.

Officials told FOX40 that it’s also how a food truck fits into the downtown area.

“They’re not maintaining that same look and feel that we’re trying to accomplish in the downtown,” Whitmore explained.

City officials said there are other areas of Turlock food trucks can still conduct business and that's where Yonan's business will remain.

"I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future,” Yonan said.

Turlock City Council is set to discuss their food truck ban in April.

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