Changes could be on the way for your favorite food truck in Arizona

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Once called "roach coaches," the popularity of food trucks has exploded, changing many minds in referencing these small businesses.

However, as the number of trucks spikes, the laws have lagged, not keeping up with the number of businesses.

"When I got started there were only seven gourmet food trucks in the whole Phoenix area but just in the last couple short years we are to about 200," said Casey Stechnij, owner of Super Farm, Super Truck.

Stechnij says the problem with the food truck industry is they are met with a patchwork of rules and regulations that changed from city to city, county to county and it's confusing.

"Having one set of rules that everyone can go to and look at and agree on will be a huge help for small business. It keeps the public safe and holds everyone to the same standards."

So, Stechnij hooked up with Kevin Payne, the owner of the K Star BBQ food truck and s state representative for District 21. The two started working toward a bill to help the small business owners.

Payne sponsored House Bill 2371, also known as the Mobile Food Vendors Measure that reads:

A.  In relation to a mobile food vendor or mobile food unit, a county board of supervisors by ordinance or resolution may:

1.  Impose operating hours only if they are the same as the operating hours imposed on restaurants in that county.

2.  Restrict the operation of noisemaking devices during specific times of day.

3.  Restrict or prohibit the operation of a mobile food unit in an area that is zoned as residential only.

4.  Prohibit a mobile food unit that is operating on private property from blocking ingress to and egress from that property.

5.  Prohibit a mobile food unit from blocking or inhibiting the use of a public sidewalk.

6.  Prohibit a mobile food vendor or mobile food unit from blocking vehicular traffic on public streets and roads.

7.  Require a mobile food vendor to obtain consent from a private property owner or lessee or the owner's or lessee's agent before beginning operation on that property.

8.  Prohibit or restrict a mobile food vendor from operating at a public airport.

9.  Require a mobile food vendor with a state license that is not issued by that county to apply for a permit in order to conduct business within the county. The permit shall be available electronically and may not require a mobile food vendor with a state license to be inspected as a condition of receiving the permit.

B.  In relation to a mobile food vendor or mobile food unit, a county board of supervisors may not:

1.  Restrict how long a mobile food vendor or mobile food unit may operate at a private property location, except that a mobile food vendor may not operate at a private property location for more than ninety-six consecutive hours.

2.  Require a mobile food vendor to operate a specific distance from the perimeter of an existing commercial establishment or restaurant, except as required for public safety purposes.

3.  Prohibit or restrict a mobile food vendor from using any legal parking space, including metered parking, to the same extent as any other commercial vehicle.

4.  Require a mobile food vendor to maintain an insurance policy that names the county as an additional insured unless the mobile food vendor is attending an event sponsored by that county or operating on public property.

5.  Require a mobile food vendor to be fingerprinted.

C.  A county with a population of more than five hundred thousand persons shall make available a business license application in an electronic format that is available online and may not require a mobile food vendor to apply in person.

"So what we're trying to do now is the state would license all the food trucks and at that point, the counties would do the inspections, whichever commissary would handle the inspections," according to Rep. Payne.

Although Stechnij admits this bill is not perfect, he says it's definitely a step in the right direction and will help these small businesses.

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