The city of Chicago appears to be on the verge of, finally, legalizing mobile food trucks, even allowing for on-truck cooking.
Alds. Tom Tunney (44th) and Proco "Joe" Moreno (1st) are expected on introduce an ordinance on Wednesday that would allow for food trucks to operate in 24-hours-a-day in designated food truck stand areas throughout the city, NBC Chicago reports.
The Mayor Rahm Emanuel-endorsed proposal would allow for up to two trucks to park for up to two hours in either a designated stand area or in either designated parking spots or private property with permission -- so long as they remain at least 200 feet away from a restaurant, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"The food truck industry in Chicago has been held back by unnecessary restrictions, and my administration is committed to common-sense changes that will allow this industry to thrive, creating jobs and supporting a vibrant food culture across the city," the mayor said in a written statement, according to CBS Chicago.
The trucks would need to install GPS devices on board in order for their operations to be tracked, according to the Tribune.
The stand areas would be set up in "highly-congested" areas that are short on parking options, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
The city's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection on Monday met with a group of food truck operators to discuss the proposal. Food Truck Freak reports that the discussion was productive, though "very heated."
Roughly 58 food trucks are said to be currently doing business in Chicago and their operators have been pushing back over the past two years against the city's restrictive regulations, including a ban on cooking onboard. The Chicago Police Department has reportedly taken to Twitter to track and ticket truck operators for allegedly violating those regulations in recent months.
Food truck operators haven't blamed just the city and state for tough regulations: many are targeting the Illinois Restaurant Association, which has been lobbying for more restrictions on food truck operations.
A previous ordinance, proposed two years ago by Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), that aimed to make it easier for food trucks to operate in Chicago failed to gain traction and faced opposition from some owners of brick-and-mortar restaurants, including Ald. Tunney, who owns the Ann Sather chain of restaurants.