After Sarasota County Commissioners rejected their permit for their food truck at Siesta Key, Tony and Cheri Bonasco will have to find another location for their Gumbo Mojo food truck.
Siesta Key, Florida -- Food trucks' popularity is spreading but one Bay area community says no way to mobile dining. Today, Sarasota County Commissioners unanimously voted against allowing a permit for a food truck at Siesta Key.
Siesta Key Village is a tight-knit community where small business owners support each other, but when a Houston couple tried to get a permit to set up a food truck one block off the main strip, the welcome sign was pulled by locals and county officials.
"I'm very excited. I feel it's the best decision for around here," said Lindsey Meaney, co-owner of Meaney's Mini Donut shop.
If approved, Meaney's donut shop would have been within sight of Tony and Cheri Bonasco's Gumbo Mojo food truck and she expressed concerns their truck would have affected walk-in traffic.
Sarasota County Commissioners heard a list of reasons to deny the Bonascos their permit.
"We're not afraid of competition but their overhead is substantially lower than ours and they can undercut our prices," said Russell Mathis, president of the Siesta Key Village Association.
Tony responded by stressing his business posed no threat to other business, public safety or anything else addressed at the meeting.
Siesta Key restaurant owner Dave Stewart told commissioners he was "all for free enterprise, however, it should be a level playing field. We pay a lot taxes and square footage for our properties."
Tony said food truck owners also pay their fair share of taxes, sales taxes, federal taxes, county taxes.
In addition to these concerns, commissioners had a few of their own for putting a food truck anywhere on Siesta Key.
"What's being considered is the use of the right-of-way for a private purpose and this isn't the place or time," said Commissioner Jon Thaxton.
"Siesta key is a tight little area with parking issues and traffic issues," added Commissioner Nora Patterson.
While downtown Sarasota has food trucks set up off US 301 that rotate out periodically to offer customers a variety, Commissioner Carolyn Mason reiterated the consensus that a small village like Siesta Key is not the right type of location for food trucks.
Tony and his wife said they expected the commissioners to turn down their request.
"We thought it be a shot in the dark."
So now, they say they will continue to try and find a spot to set up their food truck but unfortunately it won't be anywhere on Siesta Key.
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