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Dallas City Council unanimously votes to ease restrictions on food trucks, food trailers, and other mobile food units

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson

DALLAS — The City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a new ordinance that will ease the city’s restrictions on food trucks, food trailers, and other mobile food service providers.

Mayor Eric Johnson made the reforms — meant to increase the numbers of mobile food units across the city — a top priority for the Quality of Life, Arts, and Culture Committee, chaired by City Councilmember Adam Bazaldua.

The new ordinance, which will be codified in Chapter 17 (“Food Establishments”) of the Dallas City Code, will accomplish the following goals:

  • Expanding opportunities for small business owners to enter the mobile food service industry by cutting fees.
  • Reducing barriers to entry by allowing other types of food-service vehicles.
  • Expanding food preparation options on food trucks and food trailers.
  • Allowing for less frequent commissary visits to Code Compliance Department-approved food trucks and trailers.

In addition, city staff is exploring a potential pilot program that creates “Food Truck Zones” at city parks and green spaces.

“Dallas is a great food city. But for too long, the city government has been far too restrictive to mobile food operators,” Mayor Johnson said. “I am grateful to Chairman Bazaldua and to the members of the Quality of Life, Arts, and Culture Committee for crafting more sensible regulations that encourage entrepreneurs without sacrificing food safety. Together, we are working to make Dallas more vibrant and more fun.”

“I am thrilled about today’s amendment to Chapter 17 of the Dallas City Code,” Chairman Bazaldua said. “The Quality of Life, Arts, and Culture Committee has been working tirelessly on making changes that will have a great impact for the City of Dallas. These changes will bring equity and opportunity for small businesses and to communities who have been left out of the changes in the traditional hospitality industry business model.”

Mayor Johnson had first named the ordinance revisions as a priority in the State of the City Address in November 2021.

At the direction of Mayor Johnson and the City Council, city staff worked with the Better Block Mobile Food Vending Task Force and other community partners to recommend changes to the ordinance.

The Quality of Life, Arts, and Culture Committee was briefed on proposed changes twice this year before recommending full City Council approval. Mayor Pro Tem Chad West, the vice chair of the Committee, who had advocated for the reforms, also made additional amendments to the proposal at Wednesday’s City Council meeting to address remaining concerns.

In one year, the committee will review the effects of the ordinance changes.

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