Burlington City Council approves committee to regulate food trucks

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) The Burlington City Council is moving forward with a plan to ensure all food vendors pay the same amount of money to operate within the city.

On Monday, councilors voted in favor of creating a new committee that will work to address the fee disparity between food truck vendors.

City Councilor Adam Roof, who is spearheading the initiative, says vendors on Church Street pay more than $1,000 a year to operate on the marketplace, while their competitors in less popular areas pay close to $300.

Roof says he wants to “level the playing field” and make it so that all vendors pay the same fee regardless of their location.

Some vendors say that’s not fair. Nathaniel Abernethy, the owner of Green Mountain Grub, says he thinks food trucks on Church Street should pay more money for being in the busiest part of the city.

When asked if he thinks the city should raise his fee to match what food trucks on Church Street are paying, Abernethy said no.

“I wouldn’t like that especially if I’m here on a company’s property and I’m not in a public area that’s provided by taxpayers’ money,” he said. “It definitely makes sense that there’s an extra fee.”

Another concern is how much more money brick-and-mortar restaurants are paying compared to their mobile competitors. According to Roof, all 40 companies along Church Street combined pay $700,000 each year to cover rent, marketplace fees and taxes.

The newly approved committee will consist of one city councilor, two food truck vendors, two brick-and-mortar companies, one member of the public and one member of the Church Street Marketplace Commission.

Councilors say the food truck law hadn’t been reviewed since 1995 and had outdated regulations regarding where food trucks could park, what they could serve and how long they could operate.