Food Truck Feeding Frenzy

Zoning Practice — September 2013

By Rodney Arroyo, FAICP, Jill Bahm, AICP


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Recent economic and cultural trends show an explosion in the popularity of food trucks, or mobile vendors, over the past several years. All across the country, cities, small towns, and suburbs are seeing food trucks popping up, some in unexpected places like office and industrial parks, where zoning ordinances typically preclude restaurants.

Amplifying the push for food trucks are the twin trends of "buying local" and "food as entertainment" that are enhanced by programs such as the Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network. While ice cream trucks and job-site lunch wagons haven't disappeared, they are increasingly being joined by gourmet trucks and trucks specializing in ethnic offerings.

This issue of Zoning Practice discusses a range of issues for communities to consider as they add or update regulations for food trucks and other mobile vendors. It addresses permissible locations and site and operational conditions.


Page Count
Date Published
Sept. 1, 2013
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Authors

Rodney Arroyo, FAICP
<p>Rod Arroyo, FAICP is a retired Partner with Giffels Webster in Detroit. He has a Master of City Planning Degree from Georgia Tech and he has served on the adjunct faculty in Wayne State University&#39;s Graduate Urban Planning Program. Rod has over 35 years of planning experience.</p>

Jill Bahm, AICP
<p>Jill Bahm, AICP is a partner overseeing the planning group at Giffels Webster, a multi-disciplinary land consulting firm. She has a broad planning background that includes work in both the public and private sector. She earned a Master of Urban and Regional Planning and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications/English from the University of Michigan. She is a certified planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners, and a member of the American Planning Association (APA) and Michigan Association of Planning (MAP). Jill currently serves on the board of directors for MAP. Jill's experience as a city planner and DDA executive director, combined with her commercial real estate experience, marketing and promotional skills, allows her the opportunity to assist clients with a variety of projects. Jill is frequently asked to develop and facilitate educational workshops at the local, regional, and state level. She has worked with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) on the creation of workshops aimed at helping communities improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the development review process.</p>