Food trucks are welcome in Maplewood – at least for now.
After months of consideration on the matter, the Maplewood City Council last month voted unanimously to allow the miniature restaurants-on-wheels to operate for a six-month trial period in certain areas.
Food trucks will be permitted in the city's light manufacturing district, Sunnen Business Park and the Deer Creek Center area as long as they are 250 feet away from residences or apartment buildings, City Manager Marty Corcoran said. Additionally, food trucks cannot operate within 1,000 feet of each other, except for special events approved by the city.
Food truck owners must obtain a business license from the city clerk before being eligible to operate in the city, and the trucks cannot operate between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Councilman Tim Dunn, who has been in favor of the food trucks all along, said the city will revisit the issue after the six-month trial period.
"We're going to have to get input from the chamber of commerce (which was against it) and see how it has affected business," Dunn said. "The main concern will be how they've affected our brick-and-mortar restaurants."
Dunn said although the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce and several restaurant owners opposed the food trucks for fear they would take business away from the city's eateries, he said a majority of residents were in favor of them.
Dunn said he believes food trucks can complement the city's existing restaurants.
"It will increase the number of people who come into our town," he said. "More people will come to Maplewood to see the food trucks, and they'll also see the existing restaurants."