A battle is brewing in Long Beach between restaurants and food trucks.
Restaurant owners say food trucks park outside their doors and steal business. On Tuesday night, the city council will consider how best to fix the situation.
At the meeting, council members will consider new regulations that could limit the number of food trucks that can operate in Long Beach and where they can park.
La Loteria is one of dozens of food trucks operating in Long Beach. Every day the owner parks it here in front of Pike Outlets, a popular shopping and dining center off Shoreline Dr.
Nearby restaurant owners complain that food trucks are stealing their business, and they want the city council to force the trucks to park further away.
“The premise of a food truck would be to provide food where restaurants or brick and mortar are not available,” said Ciaran Gough. “But if they park outside a restaurant or around the corner, then that’s not really fair.”
Gough is president of the Long Beach Restaurant Association, and he’s among the restaurant owners who want the city council to increase regulations on food trucks.
Some restaurant owners complain that food trucks block fire hydrants, don’t pay parking meters and don’t follow requirements that they park within 200 feet of a public restroom.
On Tuesday, the city council will consider changes such as hiring a full-time food truck program coordinator, limiting where trucks can park and adding a city health permit on top of LA’s currently required permit County.
Food truck owner Hugo Jimenez told NBC4 another permit will increase his costs, but he wants to stay in his current location.
A sign posted on his truck appeals to customers for their support.
An online petition to let the trucks stay has more than 2,000 signatures.
“I think it’s unfair. I think they should stay,” said Mark Bernardo a food truck customer.
Those who work nearby say the food trucks create a festive atmosphere and give them a quick and affordable option on their lunch break.
“We don’t have time to go to a restaurant,” said Gali Guillen, a food truck customer. “It’s a smooth, easy move.”
Restaurant owners are hoping the city council will pass tougher regulations as a way to level the playing field for everyone who serves food in Long Beach.
“If restaurants are held to a certain standard, certain building codes and have restrooms, all these things that come at an additional cost, then why aren’t food trucks the same?” said Gough.
Although council members will discuss the proposed changes, a vote is not expected until early next year.