Whether food trucks should be allowed to operate in Leesburg was a topic of discussion at the Town Council this week.
Council members are expected to discuss tonight whether to allow food trucks to park and sell food in town on private property. These proposed changes would go before the Planning Commission for review before coming back to the Town Council for a final vote.
Food trucks are not defined as an allowable use in the town’s Zoning Ordinance and have been prohibited within the town limits, except when a vendor is issued a temporary permit for a special event. But Town Manager Kaj Dentler reached out to council members last month to see if they were interested in expanding their allowance, as several town microbreweries had been hosting food trucks to serve their busy weekend crowds.
Although initially the council was set to discuss a policy change to allow food trucks only at microbreweries, Town Attorney Barbara Notar advised that that allowance may be too narrow and suggested the businesses be permitted to operate on all private property. In a separate matter, the council is also expected to take up a vote at a future meeting on allowing food trucks to operate in the PEC (Planned Employment Center) and I-1 (Industrial) districts on public property and town rights-of-way.
The matter of allowing food trucks more broadly throughout Leesburg caught the attention of the Institute for Justice, an Arlington-based public interest law firm. Paige Halper, an outreach coordinator with the firm, said the Institute took an interest in the matter after hearing local media reports.
Halper said the Institute has a national street vending initiative that aims to help support food truck vendors to fight for their “economic liberty.” They are not representing any clients in Leesburg, but have reached out to area breweries to hear how current regulations are affecting their business.
“Our role is primarily we want to be a tool both for the vendors and breweries who want to increase food freedom in Leesburg,” Halper said.