Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sheng, JP Council Change Rules In Fat City Again

After outcry over her plan to allow food trucks in Fat City, District 5 Councilwoman Cynthia Sheng partially got her wish and will hold a Food Truck Festival on April 15th from 5pm-10pm in Fat City.

Food trucks have been banned in Jefferson Parish after the JP Council imposed strict rules after the influx of food trucks after Hurricane Katrina.
Now, after proposing a controversial rezoning ordinance specifically for Fat City, Sheng wants to change the rules yet again to allow for the Food Truck Festival. Previously, Sheng has approved zoning waivers for new businesses in Fat City including making allowances for banned items in the rezoning ordinance like drive-thrus, and exempting Breaux Mart from adhering to the same alcohol sale hours imposed on other businesses.

Two and ½ years after the rezoning ordinance was passed, much of Fat City remains shuttered as dozens of businesses closed or moved rather than accept reduced hours and other restrictions arbitrarily imposed by the ordinance.
As is typically the case with the Jefferson Parish Council, they approved an exemption for food trucks for the festival and are allowing Sheng to put up temporary signs to advertise the event with no discussion by a 7-0 vote.

The Festival will be held on property owned by Drago’s owner (and Sheng campaign supporter) Tommy Cvitanovich. The food trucks involved in the festival will pay Cvitanovich rent to park their trucks on his property. He claims that he will donate the rent to his foundation and will use the proceeds from the festival to beautify Fat City. Cvitanovich had been critical of Sheng's earlier plan to allow food trucks.
In contrast to restaurants, food trucks do not normally have the same fixed costs like rent and utilities that restaurants are required to pay. They also are not required to have restrooms or seating areas.
It is expected that New Orleans will send 10-15 food trucks to Fat City for the festival.