Food trucks hit roadblock on move north to Fishers

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Food trucks have become a regular part of the Indianapolis daily menu.

But you won't see any on the streets of Fishers and that's because many food truck operators say a daily permit just costs too much, with a fee in the $300 range.

"We get a quite a few requests to come up here and, unfortunately, it's a situation where it doesn't economically make sense for us to come in now," said Matt Kornmeyer with the Indy Food Truck Alliance, which represents 15 food trucks.

An ordinance before the Fishers Town Council, though, could make food trucks a regular presence in Fishers.

"We have a strong fan base here," said Kornmeyer of the people who live and work in Fishers who follow his group's food trucks.

That fan base will just have to wait a bit longer before finding out if food trucks will be part of the Fishers menu.

Monday night, the Fishers Town Council put off a vote that dealt with bringing food trucks into town. The proposal has already dished up concern for some restaurants like La Fuente Mexican Grill and Cantina.

"I need more customers and maybe customers stop by and in the truck and don't come in for a bite here and eat here in the restaurant," said restaurant manager Gustavo Contreras.

Under the proposal, food trucks would pay a $200 yearly fee and could set up shop in public parking areas and sell their food.

For the same privileges at concerts or sporting events, food truck owners would have to agree to pay a certain percentage of their profits back to the town.

"This is crazy. These guys pay $200 and I can pay here, a lot, a lot of money," added Contreras of all the extra fees a restaurant must pay that a food truck doesn't.

"I think it would hurt business and I think it would make businesses think twice about putting in a restaurant," said Fishers Town Councilman Scott Faultless.

Faultless said he's concerned the ordinance, if passed, would give food trucks an unfair advantage over restaurants.

"For restaurants or food specialty shops to do business in any community, they have to pay property taxes. They pay impact fees. They pay permit fees to get their signs. They pay all sorts of fees," explained Faultless.

Food trucks, though, have their supporters on council too.

"My answer to the local restaurants is, 'I'm a supporter of you. I'll continue to be a supporter of you, but you know, lets step up our game and make sure we can compete'," said council vice president Pete Peterson.

Peterson said he believes food trucks would add to the foot traffic in Fishers and benefit everyone.

"They don't want to stomp on other peoples' business, but go ahead and bring notice to theirs, but also bring notice to the local community, but really drive foot traffic," said Peterson. "Remember we're trying to revitalize the downtown."

The dinner bell, though, hasn't rung yet.

"We've gone this long without the city of Fishers. We'll just continue the circle like we have so far and if they want to let us in, that's fine," said Kornmeyer. "If not, we can get by."

The town council will revisit the food truck ordinance at its next meeting in two weeks.