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Could food trucks return to Loxahatchee Groves?

Posted at 11:54 PM, Aug 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-02 04:21:39-04
The future of food trucks is in doubt in Loxahatchee Groves, as code enforcement has ordered all four of them to close, some after more than a decade in operation.

There is overwhelming support for the town council to pass a law to allow them to operate.

Although the law in Loxahatchee Groves bans food trucks, for 13 years Chela's Mexican Food on Red Barn's property has been in operation.

Why? Because in order for code enforcement to close them, someone has to file a complaint first.

Santiago Arteaga's mom owns Chela's, he addressed the town council Tuesday.

"On July 19th 2017, we were given a courtesy notice to cease operations because of a formal complaint. By the way, this was not from a customer. This was from someone we don't know."

Big Herms food truck was the first one to fall.

It closed down after a complaint was filed against another issue on the property it operated on.

Code enforcement is allowed to address multiple problems at the same location, even without a formal complaint on the specific violation.

In turn, Big Herms filed complaints against the other three, including Chela's, forcing them all to close.

Failure to comply comes with a $250 fine per day on the property owner.

"I would like to ask the council is to please reconsider their position and continue to let us be a part Loxahatchee Groves," Atreaga said.

"Right now, we don't have any regulation regarding the food trucks, they're just not allowed in Loxahatchee Groves," Mayor Dave Browning said in an interview before the meeting. "I'm sure we would consider it. We're not closed off to anything."

In addition to a handful of speakers at Tuesday night's council meeting showing support for the food trucks , there is a campaignwith over 600 signatures to change the law.

There was one law changed: it allows code enforcement to cite violations without a complaint filed first.

A vote is expected at the next council meeting whether to allow food trucks with a town permit.