Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Taste Test: City of Oakland Approves Mobile Food Vending Plan

Taste Test

The City of Oakland is experimenting with mobile food vending this coming year.  Last night the City Council approved a plan that would allow group mobile food vending or “food pods” to operate in many areas of the city (generally business/commercial areas of Council Districts 1,2,3,and 4 - mobile food vending has been approved in the Fruitvale section of Oakland for over 10 years now).

An organizer could apply for a food pod permit on private property, with the approval of the owner, on a parcel at least 100 feet from a restaurant.  The food pod would include 3 or more mobile food vendors who would operate for four hours, no more than two days a week and no more than 40 days a year.  The organizer will be responsible to assure all licenses, permits and rules are followed by vendors and customers in the food pod.

After all business and property owners within 300 feet of the proposed food pod are notified the City Administrator will decide whether to approve the permit.  Among the criteria she will consider are whether the site is likely to add vitality, pedestrian activity, and spillover economic activity to the surrounding area.

The Chamber and Oakland Restaurant Association worked with city staff to assure the concerns of existing restaurants were addressed.  While some concerns still exist this one year pilot program will allow all of us to see how expanding mobile food vending will work as the City considers a permanent new policy.  Bon Apetite!

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