Proposal would allow food trucks in parking lots for events

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A city councilor wants to help get food trucks into parking lots at farmers’ markets and other big events to give families more outdoor dining options during the pandemic. Councilor Brook Bassan said food trucks and other vending carts can’t post up in parking lots at Albuquerque parks under city zoning laws.

“That’s the current rules is that these carts and trucks cannot be on parking lots for any kind of events,” Bassan explained. “There are special permits they can apply for but this is more for a regular use.”

On Monday at city council, she introduced the so-called “stay-of-enforcement,” allowing the trucks in parking lots at any city park for events, which she said is safer than having them on side streets. The Albuquerque food truck co-op is a group that posts event information for about 75 local food trucks. George Strim with the co-op said the food truck industry, like restaurants, has been hit hard because many trucks rely on catering or events, and the events that are happening, like drive-in movies, aren’t bringing in many customers.

“There are some [trucks] that have a dedicated location and those trucks are still doing okay but there’s those that go out to do special events, that do a lot of catering,” Strim added. “There [are] no events, there [are] no mass gatherings of people.”

Umami Moto Owner Jae Stulock said this proposed legislation comes at a good time when his Asian fusion food truck is still working to get more business.

“It’s been tough. It’s been up and down. We were shut down for three and a half months. This would be exceptional. It just gives us one more option,” Stulock said. “Enjoy the food trucks. It’s a great fleet we have in Albuquerque. There’s a lot of really good food and chefs that really care about what they’re doing.”

Bassan said it’s up to customers to make sure they’re not congregating in large groups at the food trucks. City council is set to vote on this resolution on April 17.

The “stay-of-enforcement” means the Planning Department won’t be able to ticket trucks that get the proper permits from the Parks and Recreation Department to be in those lots. If it passes, it will be in place for six months or until the city’s zoning rules, or IDO, have been updated with similar edits and technical amendments, whichever comes first.

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