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Framework adopted to help food truck industry expand

Baltimore's food truck industry will be able to petition Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration for additional places to sell their fares, under a bill approved Monday by the City Council.

The legislation calls on the Department of General Services to create new "food truck zones," while also allowing the mobile vendors to operate on streets throughout the city as long as they adhere to meter restrictions, said Babila Lima, a special assistant who is guiding the process for the city.

Council approved the bill without discussion.

Lima said the goal of the administration is to help the industry expand.

The food trucks also will be able to apply to participate in farmers' markets.

The city will require the food trucks to operate outside certain distances from schools and bricks-and-mortar restaurants.

Lima said the location of future food truck zones have not been identified. The city currently has nine areas where trucks can cluster, such as at the intersections of Baltimore and Charles streets and E. Fayette and N. Gay streets.

The administration will select trucks using a lottery to designate which ones can operate in certain zones.

The bill also gives the General Service Department responsibility for licensing the mobile vendors, Lima said.

Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said she's concerned that future food truck zones will eat up parking in the high-demand commercial areas of her district, such as the Avenue in Hampden and the St. Paul Street corridor in Charles Village.

"I can't afford to lose all those parking spaces to a bunch of people that by definition don't stay still," Clarke said.

Clarke, who tried previously to amend the bill to prohibit the trucks in certain areas, said she wants to work with the administration on the creation of the future zones.



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