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Golden City Brewery, Goosetown Station, their food truck vendors and customers are asking City Council to allow them to keep food trucks in their locations.

A Change.org petition for GCB, which had 650 signatures as of June 26, describes how this hurts the brewery and the food trucks it works with. One food truck owner stated she’s lost significant revenue since food trucks were disallowed at GCB earlier this summer.

The business owners argue that food trucks are an important part of the experience, and disallowing them will diminish the culture they’ve built. It also creates an unfair system where other Golden businesses are allowed to have food trucks and use public right-of-way, but their businesses aren’t, Goosetown Station owner Cheryl Jordan argued.

However, city officials explained that food trucks aren’t allowed in public right-of-way, especially in residential areas. Mobile vendors — food trucks included — are only allowed on private commercial properties, such as businesses’ parking lots and driveways.

There are exceptions for special events like Buffalo Bill Days and the Golden Farmers Market, which require a separate permit.

While the law was in place, Golden officials said they didn’t realize it wasn’t being enforced until more than a year ago, and gave GCB a temporary license to keep its food trucks until June 1.

GCB’s Tamara Munroe described how, in 2013, city code enforcement officers gave permission for the brewery to host food trucks in its parking lot, along with detailed instructions on where and how they should be situated. Thus, the proprietors were surprised when the city had to give GCB the temporary license last year.

Munroe also emphasized that the brewery has tried to work with the city regarding these restrictions since 2020, discussing a curb cut and other measures that’d keep the food trucks on the property. However, many of these aren’t viable because of physical impacts to the historic structures on GCB’s property and/or aesthetic impacts on the 12th Street Historic District, Munroe said.

Meanwhile, Jordan told the City Councilors at their June 20 meeting how she was allowed to have food trucks at Goosetown Station through the first part of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, more recently, she said city staff told her they were no longer allowed and — short of changing the law — there was nothing they could do.

She said the food trucks at Goosetown Station and GCB don’t block any pedestrian or vehicle traffic, and she believed it was unfair that other Golden businesses are allowed to operate in the public right-of-way, like those participating in the city’s downtown outdoor dining program.

“We’re just trying to have a great environment for our customers,” Jordan continued.

City Council’s comments

During the June 20 meeting, Mayor Laura Weinberg described how she and her fellow councilors had received several emails about the issue. She clarified the city’s current law, saying City Council’s discussed it multiple times over the last three years.

“(City Council) decided that the current law was sufficient for the city, and not wanting to open up the opportunity for vendors to use public space … for mobile vending,” she continued.

She reiterated that no mobile vending is allowed in public right-of-way, which includes city sidewalks, streets, parking lanes and parking lots. She also clarified how the city’s outdoor dining program doesn’t allow participating businesses to host food trucks or retail. It’s only for outdoor dining.

Councilor Don Cameron pointed out that, theoretically, Goosetown or GCB could apply for special event permits to host food trucks, such as for weekend beer-and-food tasting events. This is the same system Golden Farmers Market uses every Saturday in the summer to host its mobile vendors, he said.

Regarding Jordan’s comment about this creating an unfair system against certain businesses, Councilor JJ Trout said she and her colleagues must think about fairness on a citywide scale.

If the city wants to change the law, Councilor Rob Reed said it’ll need a compelling reason to do so, and it’ll have a very robust public input process with impacted residents and brick-and-mortar businesses.

“If we’re going to address a major policy like this, we’re going to do it through appropriate public outreach, and give everybody their chance to respond,” Reed said. “It’s not that we’re trying to ignore anybody. We’re just trying to treat everybody with the same dignity and fairness.”

The businesses’ response

In the days following the June 20 meeting, both GCB and Goosetown have reiterated their thoughts on social media, saying they believe the city is treating them unfairly. They believe the food trucks don’t negatively impact Golden’s brick-and-mortar businesses or disrupt traffic in their respective areas.

GCB also stated on its Facebook page how it’s supported a diverse range of food trucks, including women-run businesses, LGBTQ-led businesses, ones operated by Golden residents, owners of color and more.

“We are saddened that the city is preventing us from supporting these small,s local businesses,” the brewery continued, “but we will continue to support and bring cultural diversity to our neighborhood.”