Food Trucks Get Red Light in Oceanside

Redevelopment agency seeks to protect downtown businesses from low-cost food trucks

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    NEWSLETTERS

    If gourmet food trucks know what’s hot, they would roll right past Oceanside’s downtown businesses. They’re not welcome here.

    Redevelopment Manager Kathy Baker brought up putting restrictions on the trucks at Wednesday night’s Redevelopment Advisory Committee meeting, as first reported on by our media partner, the North County Times.

    The trucks, relatively unregulated, are growing in popularity among young urban professional-types.

    Baker said that she likes the idea of gourmet food trucks for urban areas like downtown San Diego, but Oceanside isn’t urban – yet. And it can’t be unless the local restaurants get solid footing.

    “Our downtown restaurants are struggling at best,” she said. “If there were a gourmet food truck by city hall downtown for instance, a lot of employees would buy from them instead of patronizing the downtown restaurants.”

    Since gourmet food trucks don’t have to pay for a lease or many employees, they typically can keep their prices lower than traditional restaurants.

    Baker said that one Advisory Committee member, Rick Wright, is also worried about the gourmet food trucks. His concern was that the trucks would put a monopoly on the Mom-and-Pop restaurants that give Oceanside its character.

    Although the committee hasn’t researched exactly what kind of regulations it would put in place, the food truck threat is on their radar – especially as the agency is set to expire in 2018. Baker said regulating food trucks is one way they can strengthen and stabilize downtown Oceanside before they expire.

    “There are a lot of little things we’re trying to accomplish in our final years," Baker said. "We’re laying the groundwork now so that we can grow later.”

    There are currently no food trucks downtown. Any regulations would serve to prevent compromising business practices in the area. Committee members suggested limiting the hours and locations that food trucks could operate.

    Baker said she’s not entirely opposed to gourmet food trucks in Oceanside, as long as they continue to stay out of downtown.

    “A lot of beachgoers don’t want to walk all the way to downtown to get a hot dog," she said, "so there’s definitely a service to be provided.”