UPPER MARLBORO – After nearly 10 months of debating, amending and discussing, Prince George’s County will now have provided spaces for food truck hubs throughout the county. However, the final bill did not pass without debate. The amendment passed 6-3 among the council. County bills 16, 17 and 51 were all passed despite a few […]
UPPER MARLBORO – After nearly 10 months of debating, amending and discussing, Prince George’s County will now have provided spaces for food truck hubs throughout the county. However, the final bill did not pass without debate.
The amendment passed 6-3 among the council. County bills 16, 17 and 51 were all passed despite a few lone votes against 16 and 17 from councilwoman Deni Taveras and Councilman Derrick Leon Davis, respectively. County bill 51, which establishes a food truck oversight committee, passed unanimously among the council members.
County Councilman Obie Patterson does not want food trucks in District 8. Patterson moved to make an amendment to CB-16, which establishes food truck hubs along certain county metro stations. The amendment would exclude areas west of Largo from the establishment of food truck hubs. As a result, food truck hubs at Branch Avenue Metro station would be removed.
Councilwoman Karen Toles, who originally sponsored the bill alongside Councilwomen Dannielle Glaros and Mary Lehman, said that although part of Branch Avenue is in District 8, there is also a part that intersects with District 7. That area includes the metro station, she said.
Still, Patterson disagreed, and said he does not want food trucks in his district because of his citizens’ concerns about enforcement and the issues they have had with food trucks in the past.
“The location of the Branch Avenue station is more than half a mile from District 7 lines,” Patterson said. “We talked about this until 1 a.m. in the morning. That area, all of Camp Springs, belongs to District 8. As it stands now, all of that area, including Andrews Air Force Base, belongs to District 8.”
Toles said having Southern Avenue Metro Stations and Naylor Road metro stations as food truck hubs rather than Branch Avenue, where there is more traffic and development, does not make sense logistically.
“I personally think it’s a disservice to that corridor,” Toles said. “That corridor does make up some communities in District 7. So, obviously, there is some concern that I have in terms of what can be viable for that area and what that area could use.”
Toles said not everyone knows what is happening, in terms of development, around Branch Avenue and “the possibilities” in the area.
Still, Toles said, the legislation is a good thing for the county. She is happy there are now regulations involving food trucks and ridding the county of food deserts. However, she is not happy about the amendment.
“We sat in each other’s offices for a very long time, strategizing what we want to do and how to move forward,” Toles said. “I’m happy to see some of the areas in which I serve to be able to have this benefit.”
As far as enforcement, food truck operators must get permission from the council before they are admitted into one of the food truck hubs throughout the county. These hubs are located mostly on Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission property, according to Brad Frome, deputy chief of staff for County Executive Rushern Baker III.
Councilman Derrick Leon Davis said there will be fines for initial violations of established food truck hubs. Violations would be selling items not permitted or authorized, vending without a permit, and vending in the wrong area with no permit. Violators may be impounded on third offenses.
“This is very important in my district and very important for food truck vendors. Talk to your friends and make sure they understand the limitations of these bills,” Davis said. “There will be fines, and even towing, in some cases. Today, I think it’s important that we state clearly what will occur when you act appropriately. This is a new day and I think we’re moving in a new direction.”