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Leesburg council reconsiders food trucks in select districts

With two new members sitting on town council, Leesburg is reconsidering its stance on allowing food trucks in the business and Crescent Design districts.

Council instructed staff to do more research on the topic Tuesday night and send it to the Planning Commission for discussion and a public hearing.

“The goal was to have a thorough community vetting…not just for council to decide in a vacuum,” Councilman Ron Campbell said Monday night.

Council began to discuss food trucks in May of last year, voting to allow them in the I-1 and PEC zoning districts in November. In December, council allowed a discussion of permitting food trucks on private property in the business districts to die in a 3-3 vote.

Leesburg residents have remained divided on the issue—while brewery owners used food trucks to attract business until the December vote, some historic district business owners see the trucks as unfair to brick-and-mortar restaurants.

“When I was first asked about the question of food trucks … I have been at times in favor. I think where it goes is critical,” said Curtis Allred, owner of Delirium Café. “The only reason that we’re even talking about the food trucks is that your business owners and property owners have built a place where they’d like to come.”

Several downtown business owners came Tuesday night to speak against allowing food trucks into the historic district, citing how they could cause health and safety issues, as well as competition. Alan Lang, son of the owners of China King, said that his family’s business has been working with local breweries to create a carryout menu for brewery customers, thus benefitting multiple downtown businesses.

All of council seemed to agree that food trucks should not enter the historic district, even if they are allowed in the business or Crescent Design districts.

“We do want to preserve our heritage, but we also need to invest in our future,” Councilman Josh Thiel said. “I don’t think that food trucks are going to take away from it, especially if we make sure that they aren’t downtown…. I do think that this is a way of growing our economy here in Leesburg.”


Food trucks should pay a license fee equal to the cost of rent for a business along that street. I have no problem with competition, but the competition should be fair.  A food truck will put local businesses out of business and then you’ll end up with a historic district filled with empty store fronts. At which time the food trucks will vanish, as the downtown will have turned into a dump.

If a brewery can’t make it without a food option, that brewery should consider investing in their own food prep. It’s called investing in your own business. But I have no issue w/ MFVs in scattered locations such as the western county wineries, breweries, and event centers, because they are truly acting as mobile kitchens in a setting usually devoid of that (kitchen) infrastructure. A location that only intends to have food offerings once a week would be better served by a contracted MFV. But a spot where one, or different, MFVs will rotate daily, like in a downtown area where there is 7 day a week customers, then it’s the unfair competitive equation with the brick and mortars.

As someone who works in the historic district, I often eat lunch at the many different restaurants in the area.  As a brewery customer, I head out of Leesburg because I cannot eat some new and unusual foods while enjoying the beer.  Food trucks and breweries go hand-in-hand.  I always check the food truck schedule for my favorite breweries.  Others aren’t as motivated by food trucks, my boyfriend picks up food locally to bring to the brewery.  The key is to have options for the customer to choose.  Not allowing food trucks at breweries is keeping many potential patrons of all places out of town.

Simple question = how much tax revenue does a mobile food truck generate to the Town? They pay no property taxes, no utility fees (if using generators), no other types of impact fees. They come and go. While they can serve as an incentive for persons to frequent the spot that vendor is located at (ie, the brewery), and that in turn can equate to tax revenues, the vendors themselves are quite low paying on the tax aspect.  So i question whether or not they truly are a key component of the economy as suggested by the new Councilman.

I floated the idea to the council to have specific Food Truck nights. The best idea would be the Virginia Village strip mall area (where the farmers market is held on Saturdays).

On Monday nights, they could allow a set number of food trucks park in that shopping center and serve their customers. The food trucks would be responsible for the clean up (trash cans, maybe even some temporary seating options). Local restaurants that are open on Mondays (for example Yummy Pig across the road) could have booths or stalls of their own.

It would help a struggling area of Leesburg get more attention, and local eateries could join in by setting up their own stalls/tents.

By having it only on Monday nights, those restaurants in the historic district that aren’t open, wouldn’t be threatened.

Bad idea to put food trucks in a historic area.  The smell and lights and fumes will get to folks who live there.  And they banned music from dowtown.  Really dumb council

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