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'I feel happy, joyful': Unified Government implements moratorium to stop early closure of KCK food trucks

Posted at 9:16 PM, May 06, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — An ordinance on food trucks in Kansas City, Kansas, that impacted business is now on hold after food truck owners voiced their concerns.

KSHB 41's Megan Abundis first spoke with the owners of KCK food trucks about the issue in April.

Food truck owners who operate near Central Avenue and N. 18th Street in KCK spoke about the sudden enforcement of an ordinance that would shut them down by 7 p.m. on weekdays and 8 p.m. on weekends.

The ordinances was enforced by the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas.

KCK food truck operators said the key to high sales is providing fresh food and ingredients.

"We sold over 200 burritos," said Leonardo Nolazquez, who operates the food truck Taqueria Hernandez.

Nolazquez said that's what a successful Saturday night looks like.

"This weekend was great; we went back to the normal sales that we used to have," he said.

But to do that, Nolazquez said the UG had to walk back their recent enforcement and educational blitz’s on food trucks.

"Until this commission can bring a final disposition to this matter, you shouldn’t have that type of interaction with UG personnel," Unified Government Mayor Tyrone Garner said at a May 2 UG commission meeting.

Garner ordered a temporary moratorium so that ordinance is no longer enforced.

The moratorium allowed Nolazquez to remain open until 2 a.m., and he noticed the uptick in business over the weekend.

“We all ran out of food; we were so happy," Nolazquez said. "Just the fact that they let us stay until 2 a.m., it was a great day."

Other food truck operators in the same area want their work space to continued to be protected and accessible for those who are hungry.

Supporters are asking for the same.

"Designate this as a food truck plaza," said Sarah Lynch, a food truck operator advocate. "The main purpose would be to keep food truck operators from being displaced."

Lynch said the moratorium has increased sales for operators.

"They haven’t been hassled by police enforcement or code and have actually been able to run their business," Lynch said. “We’re finally being listened to; it really fills my heart with hope that we will come to an agreeable solution for all of those involved."

The UG said it heard family after family at their recent meetings expressing their lost revenue because of enforcement.

"We really do listen; I got your names and your subject matter," a UG board member said at one of the recent meetings.

The UG plans work up a new ordinance with late night hours and recommendations that work for everyone.

Garner's office recently proposed extending food truck operational hours among other changes.

"These small businesses are flourishing once again," Lynch said.

Nolazquez said the moratorium provides relief, but is looking forward to a permanent solution.

“I feel happy, joyful, but I haven’t won yet," he said. "Until they sign the new ordinance."

To work out the new food truck rules and regulations, the UG will hold a special meeting on Wednesday, May 15, at 5 p.m.