Leesburg Council Puts Kibosh on Downtown Food Trucks

A deadlocked Leesburg Town Council has put the brakes on efforts to allow food trucks to operate downtown and other town business districts, even on private property.

During their Monday night work session, council members again discussed whether “mobile food units” should be allowed in the town’s business districts, which includes the downtown historic district, the Crescent Design District, parts of the East Market Street corridor, and even the Village at Leesburg neighborhood.

Last month the council approved the allowance of food trucks on public streets and private property in the town’s industrial and employment center districts. They held off for the time being on allowing food trucks on private property in the downtown and other business districts, citing a concern that food trucks could interfere with existing restaurant operations. The council asked the Economic Development Commission to weigh in on the changes, and also were considering several ways to roll out any new regulations, including doing so on a one-year trial basis.

But any potential Zoning Ordinance changes would require re-advertising for another public hearing, Zoning Administrator Chris Murphy told the council last night. Only three council members—Vice Mayor Suzanne Fox and council members Vanessa Maddox and Ron Campbell—were in favor of that, with Mayor Kelly Burk and council members Marty Martinez and Tom Dunn opposed. Because there was not majority support for a new public hearing, the matter will not go forward, at least for the time being.

That means Loudoun Brewing Company and Black Walnut Brewery in downtown will no longer get to invite their regular rotation of food trucks to their property.

Town Manager Kaj Dentler had been holding any notices of violation in abeyance until the council had decided how it wanted to proceed on food truck regulations. With no apparent council interest in allowing food trucks in the business districts, any violations will now be enforced, he confirmed Monday.

krodriguez@loudounnow.com

5 thoughts on “Leesburg Council Puts Kibosh on Downtown Food Trucks

  • 2017-12-12 at 11:30 am
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    “citing a concern with that food trucks could interfere with existing restaurant operations. ”

    That is, they are defending their political contributors from facing additional competition.

    What a disgusting racket we have downtown.

  • 2017-12-12 at 3:23 pm
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    Not sure the council is in touch with the current trend in our county. As a patron of both the local craft breweries and a fan of several of the food trucks in the area, I think this move to enforce food truck violates defeats the purpose of promoting local business . I know people that go to local breweries specifically because a certain food truck is on premises. Often times, you can literally watch people go from one brewery to another and mix-in the brick and mortar establishments as well. All it takes is some time observing people on a Friday night or weekend day. The bottom line is food trucks at Loudoun Brewing Company and Black Walnut Brewery help bring commerce into downtown Leesburg as well as tie into promoting the local agri-tourism, local musicians and events in downtown that showcase the work of our local craftsmen and women. If the council cannot see that, what in the hell are they looking at? What about the farmer’s market where you can buy food from a vendor, not in a local “established” restaurant or store. Are you for all small-business or not?

  • 2017-12-12 at 5:57 pm
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    By eliminating any and all food trucks for any and all downtown businesses, the counsel is missing an opportunity to achieve rational middle ground. It would be perfectly reasonable to allow licensed food and beverage establishments to host food trucks, without having a potential free-for-all with food trucks on every business lot downtown. The two breweries significantly harmed by the restriction are already zoned for food and beverage sales and already comply with Virginia Department of Agriculture regulations for a food establishment. Food trucks at brewery don’t unfairly compete in any way, but rather have proven to create additional draw to downtown. Counsel, choose the middle ground.

  • 2017-12-13 at 8:53 am
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    But Leesburg is such a “small business friendly town” … What a joke!

  • 2017-12-13 at 8:40 pm
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    Three members of the Town Council voted in favor of continuing the conversation to allow food trucks in the B districts that include downtown and have a public hearing to allow the residents and business owners to comment. Three other council members did not see fit to support public comment and decided that no further exploration of this important topic was warranted. The basic rights of business owners on private property was the key consideration and that government should have limited ability to control what happens on private property. It’s amazing to me that free speech would be limited to those sworn to obey the constitutional rights granted to all citizens. This denial of the opportunity for public comment is not a practice of good government. Regardless of how I feel about food trucks or their ultimate place in our community, I will protect the practice of open dialogue and the rights of all citizens to voice their opinion.
    Who you elect to serve matters, please come out on February 6th and vote to improve the decisions that affect the quality of life for all in Leesburg. The issue of food trucks is not dead and will be brought up again for discussion, the next time, the new town council member will have the ability to vote on this issue and break the tie. I thank my colleagues Vice Mayor Fox and Council woman Maddox for their support.
    I trust that we can do better by our citizens and moving forward we will!

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