State eyes new food truck regulations

By: Brian Gilliland on November 15th, 2011

Food trucks have really taken off in recent years due in many ways to their convenience, mobility and ability to circumvent many of the rules and conventions of traditional brick and mortar restaurants.

It is these features that allow them also to be singled out for regulations and that’s exactly what is beginning to happen. Each locality has its own rules concerning these matters to be sure, but some municipal governments, it is being reported, are beginning to react to state pressures.

Right now it appears the trucks most under the gun are the stay-in-place trailers. That is, mobile restaurants that aren’t really all that mobile. Many have been in place for many years. Apparently it’s sanitation concerns that are sparking the newfound adherence to regulations.

Mobile food trucks operate in the same space as the early Internet did – circumventing traditional business regulations and inspections for example – and thus ruffles the feathers of the more traditional outlets. Certainly their concerns are founded because their businesses are subject to all manner of risks – a stable location for one – that trucks can dodge.

The Annapolis dining and Ocean City restaurant scenes have not yet been drastically affected by the advent of the newfound food truck revolution and this new pressure may help assuage downtown business owners’ legitimate concerns.

The mechanism for the regulations is waste disposal – the rules state trailers must been hooked into water and sewer lines to operate but many use holding talks. The uncertainty of where this wastewater and other materials ends up is the cause for concern.

All manner of dining and good restaurant options are available from both venues. Some serve seafood some serve local Maryland favorites.

It’s a fine line to be walked by the businesses and the government because each has made significant investments in their own interests.

Municipalities will eventually have to implement state regulations in one form or another, but the shape of it hasn’t yet been determined. It’s been reported that the regulations were formulated back in 2007 and there is usually some sort of grandfathering that occurs for businesses that were in legal operation before that time.

The fate of these operations is now up in the air, but some form of regulation is probably a good idea for everyone involved. For now, as the discussions continue it’s probably the best time to hit up your favorite restaurant be it mobile or not and enjoy some of Maryland’s favorite dining options.

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