Aug 22, 2022 - News

Denver considers partial repeal of food truck ban amid outrage

Illustration of a food truck with its grate closing, and a no-sign on the grate.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Denver officials are backtracking on a temporary ban on food trucks in the city's busiest bar district.

  • The controversial policy was put in place in late July to disperse crowds and stem downtown crime, following a police shooting in LoDo that injured six bystanders.

Why it matters: The ban has drawn backlash from the local business community, garnering national media attention and legal threats over its constitutionality.

Driving the news: The city's police and transportation departments are finalizing multiple changes that could take effect as soon as next weekend, transportation department spokeswoman Nancy Kuhn tells Axios Denver.

What they're saying: Food truck operators say the partial repeal would be a step in the right direction, but the restrictions still threaten their businesses.

  • "From 11pm to 2am … it's like 80% of what we do," Amore Pizza employee Yacine Djaoui told Denver7. "[I]t [leaves] nothing for us. We pay bills. We pay rent. We pay everything. It's like I'm working for free."

Of note: The Institute for Justice — a nonprofit public interest law firm in Arlington, Virginia — sent a letter to Denver leaders last week demanding a full repeal of the policy, calling it nonsensical and potentially unconstitutional.

  • IJ senior attorney Justin Pearson, who penned the letter, pointed to previous Institute for Justice research which found that food trucks actually make cities safer by acting as "eyes and ears" on the street.

What's next: The city is working on emergency rules that may allow for the issuance of some permits on blocks where meters have been red-bagged recently, Kuhn said.

  • The details are not yet finalized, but likely to be announced later this week.
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