ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. - Mobile munchies! St. Pete Beach is making big changes to allow food trucks on the island, but the change comes with a huge set of new rules.
Food trucks will have to apply for a conditional use permit and renew it annually. Then, they'll have to be invited onto the property of a private business. That business must be in the downtown area of St. Pete Beach (in the Town Center Core, Blind Pass District, Gulf Blvd District, Town Center Corey Circle and Coquina West areas). Food trucks will only be allowed to dish out food twice a week. If they're running a generator, they must be 200 ft from any residential district.
Any business (like a brewery) that invites food trucks on their property can host no more than 2 at a time.
Steve Head, the owner of Big Bang BBQ is glad St. Pete Beach is expanding their ordinances but wishes the rules weren't so strict.
“Let us in and see how we are and you’ll find out we are not the enemy. We’re just small business men and we think we compliment the area. We serve a need where people need food," he explained.
Mayor Allen Johnson says without strict rules, he worries food trucks could hurt existing St. Pete Beach restaurants. There are about 132 of them on the island, which is less than 20 square miles.
“We don't want the whole city to turn into something that looks like a carnival," he said.
Matthew Dahm, the owner of Mastry’s Brewery, begged the city to allow him to host food trucks on his property.
“Food trucks and breweries they pretty much go hand and hand around here,” he said. “If any of my neighbors said hey it’s neat and all but you’re hurting us, it looks bad, we’d get rid of it.”
Head agrees and insists food trucks aren’t the enemy.
“Food trucks are a national phenomenon. It’s hard to keep us out,” he said.
St. Pete Beach leaders plan to vote on these new rules for a final time September 12.