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September 2, 2014

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Food trucks to get dedicated parking spaces at 3 downtown locations

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Leila Navidi

Mike Booth and Sarah Payne, with their 8-month-old daughter, Aubrey Payne, order food at Tasty Bunz food truck during Vegas Streats in downtown Las Vegas on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011.

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 | 4:46 p.m.

How to regulate food trucks that are popular in downtown Las Vegas has generated hours of discussion among the Las Vegas City Council over the last several months. But on Tuesday, a new program giving the mobile food vendors more room to operate downtown cruised through the council with no discussion.

The issue: A pilot program that would designate three parking spots downtown as “food-truck only.”

The vote: Passed 6-0, with Mayor Carolyn Goodman absent.

What it means: Food trucks will be able to lease one of three reserved parking spaces downtown from the city for $5 per hour.

Operating a food truck legally in the city can be challenging because the trucks only are allowed to park at a meter for 30 minutes at a time, even though setting up the kitchen often takes half an hour.

To complicate the issue further, the city council passed a new ordinance in October prohibiting food trucks from operating within 150 feet of any brick-and-mortar restaurants.

The program approved Tuesday, which was discussed more fully at a Recommending Committee meeting in January, will create food truck-only parking spaces near the Regional Justice Center, the Bonneville Transit Center and Las Vegas City Hall.

Food trucks will be able to sign up for a lottery with the city’s business licensing department to reserve the spots.

“There’s obviously more food trucks than spaces, so they have to have a lottery to determine who gets what space at what time on what day,” city spokesman Jace Radke said. “It will be a rotation. Everybody will get a shot at the spaces.”

Radke said the city would begin planning lottery next week and the program should be running by March.

The pilot program will run for six months, at which time the council can decide to continue, expand or do away with the parking spaces.

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