Edina opens online forum to discuss city's ban on food trucks

The city of Edina is asking citizens for their thoughts on mobile dining

The city of Edina is asking citizens for their thoughts on mobile dining

Will Edina, the city with a standing prohibition on food trucks, finally start to reconsider its stance on the overwhelmingly popular mobile restaurants? The short answer is: not any time soon. While the city of Edina has made it clear that they're not currently proposing any changes to the current food truck rules, they have opened up an online discussion to let the citizens of Edina give their input on the subject.

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The city has what it calls an "online engagement site" called Speak Up, Edina!, where questions are posed to the general public. This month they've opened a discussion on whether the people of Edina actually want a food truck presence. Citizens now have until January 31 to go to the website and address the issue head-on in an online forum that so far has five topics surrounding the issue and a total of 51 responses.

The topics up for discussion include whether people support food trucks; if allowed, what hours should food trucks be allowed to operate; and where the trucks should be allowed to conduct business. So far the majority of the commenters seem to be largely supportive of food trucks, although several mention certain caveats.

One commenter, who is in support of the trucks, suggests Edina should "focus them on the parts of the city where there is not already an abundance of food outlets, or at corporate, school, church, or park based events." Another says, "If done properly, I believe food trucks will attract people to areas and increase sales in businesses, including restaurants. There should be limits on locations, hours, and number."

Another commenter, identifying himself as a VP at Parasole, has taken a negative stance on the trucks. According to his comment, "I am with Parasole Restaurant Holdings. We operate several restaurants in Edina. We are of the mind that food trucks take business away from the many brick-and-mortar restaurants that already operate in Edina. Edina's current restaurants are first class and offer great diversity. I also believe the trucks tend to be noisy and take away from the ambiance of the neighborhoods."

The moderator for the discussion, identified as Jordan Gilgenbach, posted a message he received from An Nguyen, owner of Rice Paper, located at 50th and France. According to the restaurateur's letter, "it is extremely difficult just to compete and survive with the multitude of existing restaurants at 50th and France. To now be subjected to the possibility of competition from food trucks, which operate with a fraction of the investment and overhead as well as only maintain their presence in fair weather, is truly unfair."

These arguments likely sound familiar to those in the downtown Minneapolis area, where brick-and-mortar restaurants have been fairly vocal about their stance on food trucks. Will the city of Edina eventually give in to consumer demand, or will the voices of the local brick-and-mortars win out? Only time will tell, but if you live in Edina, now is your chance to speak your mind.

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