Food Trucks barred from Art Walk, again [updated]

By | May 7th, 2012 | 3 Comments

There may be Storm Troopers but there reportedly won't be an official food truck gathering in Wynwood Saturday night. -- photo by Robby Campbell

The food truck roundup that typically accompanies Second Saturdays Art Walk in Wynwood will not happen this month, according to its organizer. Shortly after noon today, the manager of Sakaya Kitchen — whose owner, Richard Hales, organizes the roundup — sent the following message to the food truck community via email: “Unfortunately the Wynwood event is not going to happen this month on the lot; the City will not give the permission … See you hopefully next month.”

Update (5/9/12, 10:18): Hales says he is trying to secure a Vacant Land Temporary Use Permit, which is valid for six months, to be able to hold the monthly food truck roundup at its usual spot, a three-acre lot at 2238 N.W. Second Avenue. Here’s an excerpt from an email Hales sent Beached Miami: “The issue we are having with the six-month permit is the city is requiring a number of improvements in which we complied to most but the rest require significant capital, i.e., landscaping the three acres, new fencing, etc. In our opinion [these] are not safety related but rather to beautify the lot. We only use the lot for six hours a month so to spend money on landscaping is not really in the budget. We keep the lot clean and safe so we are speaking with the city to see how we can satisfy the requirements without killing the budget. It is already an expensive event to host and additional cost will most likely kill the event.”

Update (cont.): Despite the cancellation announcement, Hales says there is still a chance the food truck roundup will happen on Saturday. “For May I requested an extension of my April permit and resubmitted my application, plans and fee payment but it requires all the City of Miami departments to approve the extension,” he wrote in the email. “If they all approve by Friday we will scramble to hold the event. As of right now I am still waiting for a couple departments to respond. It’s a daily process of calling and emailing which I started last month. I am hoping to get the six month permit to keep the event going on a semipermanent basis.”

If you’re experiencing déjà vu that’s because the culinary confab was also cancelled shortly before the March Art Walk when the City of Miami’s code enforcement department informed the food trucks that they could not gather in their usual spot, a lot at 2238 N.W. Second Avenue, because they did not have the proper permits. The city was responding to complaints by Brad Knoefler, the neighborhood activist who spearheaded the creation of Grand Central Park in downtown.

The controversy and accusation-slinging between Knoefler and various food truck operators following the March cancellation seemed a distant memory when the food trucks secured a permit from the city to congregate in the usual place during April’s second Saturday gallery crawl. But the report that the city will not grant the food trucks permission for this month’s Art Walk, on Saturday, May 12, promises to bring the simmering tension to a boil, primarily because the monthly event is one of the bigger money-makers on a Miami food truck’s calendar (if not the biggest).

As mentioned in previous posts, some will cheer the cancellation of the often loud and messy food truck roundup, which they see as denigrating to the atmosphere of the gallery district. Others will lament the lack of a one-stop spot for everything from fish tacos to mini cupcakes. As consolation to the latter group, there will likely be food trucks spread throughout Wynwood Saturday night. The Sakaya email specified that the food trucks will not gather “on the lot” — it did not rule out the possibility that trucks will park on the street or in welcoming driveways, as they did back in March.

We will update this post as we learn more details about the cancellation.

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3 Comments on “Food Trucks barred from Art Walk, again [updated]”

  1. 1 nathaniel sandler said at 3:07 pm on May 7th, 2012:

    I AM A LAZERDISK GROUPIE

  2. 2 Leah said at 7:24 am on May 8th, 2012:

    Okay, first of all, don’t know what’s up with the first comment but it did make me chuckle.

    Second, what is the justification on the city’s part? As long as the food truck operators leave the site clean, why should that empty land sit there while the food trucks try to navigate through the traffic nightmare that is Art Walk?

    I guess it all comes down to why the city would want its residents to actually make money from something. It’s not like we’re in a recession or anything.

  3. 3 Brad K. said at 11:58 am on May 21st, 2012:

    Unfortunately Mr. Hale is right and would have avoided the cancellation had he accepted our help and advice as to the proper means to secure a permit for outdoor retail which will make all these problems go away. The Temporary Use of Vacant Land permit does NOT work due to the onerous requirements to show a variance with Miami 21 and the improvements required by the City. We found that out after exploring that route last year for GC Park and wasting thousands of dollars in fees to try to comply with TUP ordinance. What DOES work, and GC Park is the pioneering example, is a series of special event permits with a waiver of the maximum number of events per year by the Commission.

    We remain committed to our mission of attempting to streamline and make consistent the temporary use permits in the City of Miami, which benefits everyone. But instead of personal attacks, lets work together and utilize our experience to sort this out so we all can get back to making Miami Downtown Miami the center of outdoor activities that we all want it to be..


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