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News: November 24, 2013

2013 November 24
by JEREMY, C.J.
PORC

PORC

DCRA Releases December Food Truck Lottery Results

On November 15, 2013, the DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) released its final December 2013 Vending Lottery Results, which go into effect December 1.

Passed by the City Council in June after a protracted, four year-long fight and made final in September, the new regulations empower the DCRA to establish Mobile Roadway Vending (MRV) locations and require that, to vend in a designated MRV location, a food truck must participate in a monthly MRV location permit lottery administered by the DCRA. Food trucks not selected in the lottery for a specific MRV location are permitted to vend elsewhere in the District subject to other requirements, including the requirement that they not be within 200 feet of a designated MRV location.

The December results assign 116 trucks vending rights at eight popular Downtown locations — Farragut Square, Union Station, Franklin Square, L’Enfant Plaza, State Department, George Washington University, Navy Yard, and Metro Center — on specific days. For example, the holder of site permit VSP-00029 will be permitted to vend at Farragut Square on Mondays and Fridays, at Union Station on Tuesdays, at Metro Center on Wednesdays, and at Franklin Square on Thursdays.

As Food Truck Fiesta reports, however, this figure is far less than the estimated 200+ trucks currently operating in DC.

The DC Food Truck Association‘s website continues to raise its concerns with the new scheme:

The new regulations include designated areas for food trucks and a lottery system; however, the rules don’t say how this will work. Without transparent and objective criteria, lottery-assigned locations could be created where there is no demand for food trucks. Or we could be boxed-in to lottery-assigned spaces, limiting our ability to roam and meet customer demand throughout the District. Together we will need to help ensure that the implementation of the new rules is fair, objective and transparent so that you will continue to enjoy food trucks all throughout the District.

But while the full effect of the new monthly lottery system has yet to be seen, at least one truck, “organic extravaganza” Cirque Cuisine, has already decided to close up shop citing the new regulatory scheme, writing on its Facebook page: “We are moving on and upward…much thanks to this government and its new regulations and inability to support its small businesses… It is with a heavy heart that I announce this…”

“[T]wo of the five days of the week, they were assigned to locations (Farragut and the State Department area) where they had never really gone to and had never built a following. Fridays, they didn’t even get a spot in the assigned vending zones, meaning they have to stay at least 200 feet away from the zone,” Washington City Paper reports.

Cirque Cuisine served its last lunch rush Friday, November 21, at L’Enfant Plaza, offering up a spinach, caramelized onion, and fontina quiche. Fans of the truck, which Supreme Cart unfortunately never got to sample, took to Cirque Cuisine’s Facebook page to lament the truck’s closing and thank its operators. “This is the saddest news ever,” wrote one commenter. “My foodie lunch life is over,” wrote another.

We’ll keep you updated as the food truck lottery saga plays out.

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