City wants to have a pilot program allowing food trucks in residential areas | Local Government

Lincoln officials have decided that allowing food trucks in residential areas should have a trial run.

In March, the city proposed an ordinance that would allow food trucks to spend up to three hours in residential neighborhoods, making it much easier to provide food for private gatherings such as graduation parties than the current 15-minute restriction.

Officials postponed a vote on it to work out some details, and decided instead to try out the proposal as a pilot program that will run until Nov. 1.

City Urban Development Director Dan Marvin said the proposal is part of a long-term plan to expand the use of food trucks.

The other part of that will be to designate some areas downtown to allow food trucks in more-congested areas. Those areas include near the State Office Building, near 14th and Q streets and under the Rosa Parks Way overpass, an area that is being redeveloped and will include space for food trucks.

Currently, the ordinance also prohibits food trucks from staying that long on streets in “congested areas” such as arterials.

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Marvin said the city will ask the City Council this summer to approve a pilot program for certain “congested areas,” and both pilot programs will wrap up Nov. 1. City officials will have data from those programs and will draft an ordinance that would allow uses in both residential and designated congested downtown areas.

Nick Maestas, the owner of Muchachos, told the City Council on Monday that the pilot program proposed for residential areas will allow families who do not want to rent space for events such as graduations or rehearsal dinners to do so in their homes.

“This is honestly a fantastic opportunity for Lincoln’s food trucks,” he said. “I’m so excited Lincoln is becoming a leader in the state’s food truck industry.”

These are the latest proposed steps in the evolution of food trucks in Lincoln, which made their first appearance in 2011, when they had to park on private property if they wanted to serve downtown customers.

Two years ago, a pilot program allowed food trucks to park in four zones in downtown, expanding access for food trucks in the city.

Before that, food trucks could only park on the street with a special permit, which required four weeks’ notice and closing of the street.

The council will vote on the ordinance allowing the pilot program for residential areas next week.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7226 or

On Twitter @LJSreist


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