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Food trucks fight for rights in downtown Wilmington

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Food trucks and the city of Wilmington could soon work together like burgers and fries.

Food truck owners are pushing for regulation changes that would make it easier to consistently serve their tasty treats in downtown Wilmington.

The Wilmington planning commission met today to discuss changing some of the current regulations that put the squeeze on food trucks running a business downtown.

“People get used to you being in a certain location,” James Smith, owner of food truck, ‘Patty Wagon’ said. “You know your customers aren't going to remember that you were here 44 days ago and tomorrow’s the day you're coming back. You know it needs to be you know an every weekend kind of thing.”

Proposed changes would allow food truck owners like James Smith to apply for annual permits that would give them power to sell their food in downtown Wilmington.

This would also mean there would no longer be a 45-day waiting period.

“We want everyone to come together and agree on what's best for the city, what's best for downtown, and what's best for the business owners,” Brian Chambers, Associate Planner for the Wilmington Planning Commission, said.

Chambers says they have been working with restaurant and food truck owners alike to come up with a solution that everyone can be happy with.

But the discussions didn't start off peacefully.

“In the beginning, yes, I think it was an us versus them kind of thing, and since this, it's kind of actually gotten to be more of an us working together to make downtown what we think it should be,” Smith said.

Those who enjoy the food truck's delectable delights say they want to see more trucks travelling downtown, for more reasons than one.

"Not everybody wants pizza when they get done having fun, and going out and drinking, and having a grand old time,” customer Shannon Giegerich said. “I think it's a wonderful thing to have downtown. That way, you know, I can stop and get a burger. That way we don't have to drive anywhere, and risk other people's lives."

Giegerich says she hopes the proposed regulations go through soon.

"Food trucks are awesome! I say go with it," she said.

The next step is a public hearing before the planning commission on July 10th. From there, the proposed changes move on to city council for approval in August.

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