If you have opinions on the proposed vending regulations that will determine the future of street food in Washington, you have only a few more hours to send them to the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The deadline for public comments is 5 p.m. today.
More than 3,000 individuals and organizations have submitted comments so far, notes Helder Gil, legislative affairs specialist with the DCRA. That tops the department’s previous record of more than 2,500 comments — set when the last round of proposed vending regulations was published in June 2010.
“I just looked a moment ago, and there were 100 more that just appeared,” Gil says. “It’s the last-minute flood that’s coming in.”
So far, the public strongly supports the concerns of food trucks over those of the bricks-and-mortar restaurant community, Gil says, just as it did last month when the DCRA extended the comment deadline.
Most of the principal players have already submitted comments, whether individual food truck owners or the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, which has concerns over the motorized competition. Among the more pointed anti-food truck comments to date are these:
●“ANC 2E recommends that pending regulations with regard to the food carts be amended to prohibit food trucks from parking in residential parking permit( RPP) spaces within ANC 2E” — from the Advisory Neighborhood Commission serving Georgetown, Burleith and Hillandale.
●“Food trucks serve a purpose where there are construction sites and other sites where workers have little time for lunch. This does not apply to K street area where there are few work sites and no construction sites . . . K street is close to water and other areas already inhabited by rats — food trucks will significantly increase the rat infestation especially after trucks leave for day.” — from the owners of 3303 Water Street, a luxury condominium unit in Georgetown.
●“We strongly oppose allowing food trucks to park and transact business on residential streets. This already is a vexing problem on Capitol Hill, where food trucks routinely park in designated ‘no parking’ areas, blocking sightlines at intersections (the green Kabob truck is a repeat offender) and fire hydrants. We also have observed instances where trucks have (1) parked illegally in resident-only areas (Ballpark District), resulting in patrons who loiter in front of residences and block sidewalks and (2) played music over loudspeakers directed at residential buildings for upwards of two hours. These actions are particularly inappropriate where the residence happens to be the home of infants and/or small children. I also should not be expected to exit my front door and encounter individuals having a repast on my stoop.” — resident Michael Wilson
You can add your voice to the mix by sending comments to Helder Gil, the legislative affairs specialist at the DCRA, via the e-mail address @DCVendingRegs@dc.gov. You have till 5 p.m. today.