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Debate over food truck ban heats up in Carlisle - abc27 WHTM

Debate over food truck ban heats up in Carlisle

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CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) -

Food trucks are very popular. They're a fast and quick way to grab something to eat, but these trucks are banned in a local community. Now some are trying to change that.

Drive down the streets of Harrisburg, and you're sure to find at least one. But in Carlisle, food trucks are not allowed.

"We have about 30 great international restaurants downtown, all locally owned," said Glenn White, executive director of the Downtown Carlisle Association.

The Downtown Carlisle Association is in charge of making sure business thrives in the area. "We are not getting a person from outside coming in setting up shop right in front of a store," White said, "One place might be selling pizza across from a pizza place."

Jason Turner makes and sells falafels from his three-wheeled bike in Carlisle. "I'm trying to bring big city food street food to a smaller area," he said.

But under the ordinance, he can't set up shop on public streets or sidewalks. Instead, he sells his food on private property. He calls his business "Unlawful Falafel."

"It seemed like in order to do this legally, I had to be illegal," he said, "So it kind of just stuck as a great name."

"When I hear it's banned I think it's kind of ridiculous, it doesn't make any sense," said food truck lover Luis Hernandez, "That's a commodity that many people can even use all the time. There's no reason to have it banned, it would do a lot of good especially for the economy."

Right now, Turner relies heavily on social media to let customers know where he'll be set up. He says he's not trying to steal business, but times are changing and so should the law.

"If they feel that I'm such a competition, they have the capital they can buy a bike and they can set up right across from me," he said.

One member of borough council says last year Carlisle's zoning officer had to turn down about a dozen food truck requests. Meanwhile, others are worried about an increase in both traffic and trash.

Next month, the borough wants to bring both sides in this debate together. It's having a big meeting to get everyone's thoughts on whether the ban should be lifted. The meeting is July 31st at 7:30am at the borough hall. The earliest any of this will come up for a vote is this fall.

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