D.C. committee postpones April 30 food truck hearing

April 8, 2013

Updated at noon on April 10: The city has rescheduled the public hearing on the proposed vending regulations for 11 a.m. May 10 in Room 412 of the Wilson Building.

Citing a scheduling conflict, the D.C. Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has postponed a public hearing set for April 30 to discuss the controversial proposed vending regulations that could limit the number of food trucks in the Central Business District.

You'll have to wait a little longer to have your say about the city's plan to regulate food trucks like Kushi-Moto.
You'll have to wait a little longer to have your say about the city's plan to regulate food trucks like Kushi-Moto. (Tim Carman/The Washington Post

The hearing will be rescheduled for sometime in May, said James D. Brown Jr., chief of staff for Vincent B. Orange (D-At Large), who chairs the committee. No date has been set yet, but "we'll probably know in the next couple of days," Brown added. Another official said the April 23 special election to fill the at-large D.C. Council seat has caused havoc with the city's meeting calendar.

The postponement itself caused a minor tremor in the D.C. food truck community.

"Obviously, there is a fear that the hearing will not be rescheduled, but scheduling conflicts do happen," said Che Ruddell-Tabisola, political director for the Food Truck Association of Metropolitan Washington.

"We prefer when a hearing is canceled that they also reintroduce a new date," Ruddell-Tabisola added.

The Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs has no plans to send the proposed regulations to the D.C. Council without a public hearing, said Orange's chief of staff Brown.

Brown added that the D.C. Council has until June 22 to vote on the regulations. By law the council has only 60 legislative days to pass or reject the vending rules; if the body takes no action, food trucks would revert back to the decades-old “ice cream truck” rule, which requires mobile vendors to have a line of customers waiting in order to vend.

Some are predicting D.C. food trucks will flee to Arlington if the council passes the proposed regulations. One mobile vendor has already called it quits, in part because he didn't want to serve as guinea pig for new vending rules.

In the meantime, the public has until 5 p.m. today to send in comments on the proposed regulations. Comments should be sent to Helder Gil, Legislative Affairs Specialist, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, 1100 Fourth St. SW, Room 5164, Washington, D.C. 20024, or e-mailed to DCVendingRegs@dc.gov.

(You can view the comments already submitted here.)

Tim Carman serves as the full-time writer for the Post's Food section and as the $20 Diner for the Weekend section, a double duty that requires ingesting more calories than a draft horse.
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