Hamilton city council voted late Tuesday afternoon to loosen a bylaw that allows food trucks to operate closer to restaurants.
The amendment allows food trucks to park and operate 20 metres away from a fixed restaurant. The previous bylaw kept trucks 100 metres away from restaurants operating during business hours.
The amendment also includes a time limit of up to three hours food trucks can stay in one spot while operating.
"[The bylaw] was subject to controversy," said bylaw services director Marty Hazel at Tuesday’s meeting.
The city had been faced with complaints that food trucks take business away from brick and mortar operations and can clog the streets.
"The bylaw is restrictive," said Gorilla Cheese truck owner Grame Smith in his deputation Tuesday. He argued that it stops a new industry from reaching its potential. "Food trucks do not steal business," Smith said.
Smith added that 80 per cent of his customers visit the truck as a result of their social media presence. Gorilla Cheese sends tweets and Facebook notices indicating where they will be each day.
Smith says, the other 20 per cent of his business comes from pedestrians and people driving by. Either way, he says, it gives his customers a chance to take in businesses in the area and discover what the neighborhood has to offer.
Some fixed restaurant owners still say the trucks have an unfair advantage.
"I pay $18,000 in taxes and my restaurant has a capacity of 97." Locke Street’s West Town owner Joe Stanicak tells city council. "There is not capacity for mobile vehicles."
"We’re concerned we’re being victimized," said Stanicak.
Sandie Susi, office manger at the east mountain’s Upper Gage Garage, supported the amendment. She often has food trucks operate out of her parking lot and said they bring her business.
"We get customers, " Susi told CBC News. "If you come to my lot four, five, six times [for the food trucks], hopefully you’ll think of me."
Smith and his partners believe food trucks bring vibrancy to the city’s culture.
"Food trucks enhance Hamilton’s reputation as a city that is open to new innovative concepts," said Smith.
Council will still need to ratify the amendment before it can take effect.