Raleigh Food Truck Permit denied for House of Swank

Posted by John on 10th Aug 2015

Some of y'all are familiar with the pickle we're currently in regarding getting a food truck permit from the City of Raleigh to have trucks in our parking lot. Here's the basic facts. Hoping to work out some sort of resolution soon so we can start planning events for the House of Swank in earnest for fall! 

It mainly involves the current food truck ordinance, but zoning, and the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) also come into play. Our landlord (Empire Properties) and neighbors are completely supportive and on board with us. Really, I couldn't ask for a better group of folks here. 

Here it goes:

1) The current Food Truck Ordinance does not allow trucks in the Residential Business district zoning (we could, however, potentially get permission for a full blown restaurant, but still couldn't have a food truck in my parking lot. Go figure)

2) The proposed zoning change for my block is NX, which also does not allow for food trucks per the Food Truck ordinance. I could, however, have a 3 (4?) story restaurant or nightclub built with NO public input. Still no food trucks in the parking lot though. Go figure, again.

3) The Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) map downtown allows for food trucks downtown based on a number of criteria. The eastern border of the UDO is the middle of Bloodworth St. (Our location - 315 S. Bloodworth) Basically, if our shop was on the other side of the street, we'd be good to go. Because we're on the wrong side of the street, well, we're out of luck.  

I recognize that we're on the sharp end of east downtown development, but this sort of blows. I <think> we'll eventually be able to secure some sort of variance or pilot program status, but who knows. The main reason we chose to pay a premium for this property vs just moving everything to some random warehouse was to have events, bring the community in along for the ride, and grow for several years. Right now, that's pretty much on hold.

I'm up for any suggestions. Holla!