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MFU Houston

From the inbox:

The Houston Mobile Food Unit (MFU) Collective will present City Council Members with stakeholder-driven Ordinance changes in September, which will further promote business growth and entrepreneurship in Houston.

The proposed Ordinance changes will eliminate the 60-foot distance between Mobile Food Units; allow 1 propane (LP) permit to cover multiple locations; provide access to existing seating areas and provide limited seating of their own; lift the LP ban within the District of Limitations, opening up the downtown area for service.

“Currently, propane use is restricted in Houston’s central business district, which limits most mobile food units from operating in the area. MFUs attract crowds and bring activity to the areas they occupy; the proposed Ordinance provides a unique opportunity to revitalize and reenergize spaces that could benefit from increased activity,” said Joanna Torok, co-owner of Oh my! Pocket Pies.

You can read the full press release here. The specifics of what they want are on their webpage.

Eliminate 60-foot distance between trucks.
Requires change to Fire Code, Section 10.11.12 and amendment to City Ordinance No. 2006-826

One Liquid Propane (LP) permit to cover multiple locations.
Requires change to Fire Code, Section 10.10.2

Ability to park next to existing seating.
Requires change to Mobile Food Health Code

Allow units to provide limited seating of their own, up to 3 tables and 6 chairs.
Requires change to Mobile Food Health Code

Lift the current LP restrictions in the District of Limitations 1:
Allow up to 40lb. LP tank + private property access. Requires changes to LSB standard 10, section 10.3.1

We’ve heard about these ideas before, in November when the city of San Antonio was preparing to loosen its regulations on mobile food vendors and last March when Lisa Gray wrote about the subject. One item that I don’t see on the wish list is the requirement that vendors have to bring their trailers to a city-approved “commissary” on a daily basis to be hosed down and inspected. I don’t know if that’s because this has already been changed or if the MFU Houston folks consider these other items to be higher priorities. In any event, I support this effort and wish them the best of luck. See here for further information about MFU Houston, see their Facebook page for ways to get involved, and see CultureMap and Houston Politics for more.

UPDATE: The Chron gets on board with this.

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3 Comments

  1. Jack Cluth says:

    It’s nice to see y’all finally catching up to us here in Portland. Food carts (and WTF is an “MFU,” anyway??) are not a threat; they’re actually an interesting way to being food to people, instead of vice-versa. ;-)

  2. Erik Vidor says:

    Jack, the acronym “MFU” stands for Mobile Food Unit.

    Charles, I think the reason that you did not see any proposals about the commissary was because the goal of this collective is not to change any of the sanitary requirements but rather the restrictive nature of the operating ordinances.

  3. […] as a trivial item. Does that mean he would oppose allowing food trucks downtown? There is a grassroots effort to make this happen, being led by small business owners who want the city to loosen or undo […]

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