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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The future of food service may be in food trucks, but the City of Wilmington may be slowing that down. Trucks have been dealing with multiple city zoning issues that make their business even more difficult.

Poor Piggy’s BBQ is just one food truck in Wilmington dealing with zoning issues. Owners hope that the city will be a little more cooperative in the future so they can more consistently sell their product.

“Every day we have people wanting to know why we can’t stay here,” Poor Piggy’s BBQ owner Ed Coulbourn. “They don’t understand, and they want us to find a location and be there for them, because they don’t like having to figure out where we are every week.”

Coulbourn says he was the first legitimate food truck to serve in Wilmington. Since his arrival he has been limited by city zoning. One issue is that he can only spend one week every 45 days inside city limits. He says he is working with the city to try and figure out the best solution for both sides.

“I think with the city it’s more of an issue of figuring out how to place us,” Coulbourn said. “I think that what we’re trying to get to is that if a person has permission from a property owner and it’s private property that a food truck can set up for business there as often as they would like.”

Currently zoning issues with food trucks not only include the temporary use permit but also a limitation called peddler on wheels. Under that a food truck may set up on private property where it has permission, but only for a certain amount of time. Coulbourn says that can be anywhere up to two hours, which does not work with his truck, because of the time it takes to slow cook barbecue.

“We’re not out here to hurt anyone,” Coulbourn said. “We’re just here to try and provide for our families in a tough economy, and this is a way that’s been proven that works to do that.”

Poor Piggy’s customers Friday afternoon tended to agree with the owner.

“I think it’s a new form of food offering to people. It just increases our options here in wilmington. I really do think the zoning needs to be changed right away,” Tom Morris said while visiting the truck on Military Cutoff Road.

We contacted the City of Wilmington’s Zoning Department about the issue, but have not heard back.

Comment on this Story

  • Edmund

    If we accept the legitimacy of zoning why shouldn’t it apply to everyone. Just because someone is temporarily using some real estate doesn’t give them a waiver of zoning. (It appears that the gentleman’s food truck is in O&I zoning)

    On the other hand why have an arbritratry limit on how long someone can operate a temporary business in a specific location. As long as the zoning is correct.

  • Concerned Citizen

    FYI O&I (Office & Institutional) includes “Quick Service Restaurants”…

  • Guest28451

    by the City of Wilmington. Will somebody please set the alarm clock and wake these people up and inform them this is the 21st century and not 1960s anymore..

  • Guest461

    …and a little extra to pad the palms of the rest of the council members and I’ll bet you can find a home! Too bad they can’t enforce the one week/45 day rule for all of the homeless people downtown.

  • they are all for getting new businesses to locate in Wilmington yet they put every coneivable roadblock in the way of the business owner. Zoning, taxes, permits…all impediments to business growth.

  • Gueston

    they have problems calling them peddlers on wheels how about worry about the people who crowed your car at every red light, how about do something with them and let this guy make a honest living. something Wilmington council has never done or experienced, esp slum lord saffo.

  • Justin LaNasa

    If inspected and held to the the same standards as restaurants,and they pay fees and permits as others do, why is government spending all their time hindering small business’s when they should be promoting them.Local government should be more focused on working for the people rather than against them! Thank You YFM Justin LaNasa


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