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Food Truck Friday Event in Peril Again

Friday's food truck event was the last one that the organizers have a valid permit for. To continue the event, the organizers will need to reapply with some tough new hurdles to meet.

Friday night's food truck event may end up being the last time Altadena residents will line up for grilled cheese, shrimp, and more goodies at the monthly , as the organizers temporary permit has now expired.

Meredith Miller, of , said that she and the other organizers want to keep the event going, but have been told they will need to apply for yet another permit, this one covering five more events.

The event last ran into trouble in February, when Miller and her partner in the event, Lori Webster, found out they would need to apply for a permit to keep the event going.  They got a temporary operating permit in March to last through September.

Now, Miller said, the county is asking her to meet new requirements not previously asked, including canvassing all neighbors within 500 feet of the event site through the mail to find out what objections they may have to the food truck event.  They will also need to fill out all their paperwork again from scratch, she said.

The permit would cost $192 for 5 months, which might not be as prohibitive as the time it will take to actually fulfill the county permit requirements, Miller said.

"You know, we also have a business to run," Miller told Altadena Patch Saturday. She noted that neither she nor Webster directly profit from the event.

She said next month's event is up in the air.  Another option could be to bring it back in the Spring, she said.

She noted that Food Truck Friday is gaining in popularity and said she receives unsolicited emails from food truck vendors all the time asking to be part of it.

So what can Altadenans who love the event do to help?  Miller said the best thing she can think of is for people to write County Supervisor Michael Antonovich and ask him to help expedite the county requirements and let him know that people in the community do value the event.

Those interested can write Antonovich's district representative Sussy Nemer at (626) 356-5407 or via email at snemer@bos.co.la.ca.us.  Antonovich's spokesman and office manager Tony Bell can be reached at 213-974-5555 or tbell@bos.co.la.ca.us.  Antonovich's official email contact can be found here.

Other county permit trouble stories:

Coffee Gallery Fundraiser Nets Enough to Pay for Permit

County Backs Down on Patticakes Mural

Altadena Urban Farmer's Market Gets Permit for May 29 Event

Danny's Farm Owners Not Giving Up on Goal of Helping Autistic Kids

Lori A. Webster September 11, 2011 at 01:25 AM
Thank you for the article, Dan!
Lisa Hastings September 11, 2011 at 02:43 AM
Each of the four trucks should pay $50 for the five month permit. That's $10 a month. They make money from the sale of their food so what's the big deal.
Dan Abendschein (Editor) September 11, 2011 at 03:10 AM
From what I can gather (and Lori, if I'm wrong, jump in) from talking to Meredith is that it is less about the money and more about the time required to deal with the permit process, and the uncertainty of the long-term outcome if they put more effort into the process.
Lisa Hastings September 11, 2011 at 05:24 AM
It sounds like the Webster business people's enthusiasm is waning maybe because they are not making any money off of this event. So, not wanting to deal with the permit process is understandable. Of course, the rumor now (on the other Altadena Blog) is that the county will shut the food truck event down and what a bad county. The forms are only three pages and a checklist. It probably is not worth the permit fees and time to copy what they sent in the first time, unless they didn't keep copies! Now the county wants a poll of the neighbors. This is not a tough new hurdle. All cities and counties have a review/permit process for this type of event, and some require polling the neighbors. The county is not unique in requiring a permit or polling neighbors, or collecting permit fees, or imposing more requirements if the event will be permanent.
Mindy Pfeiffer September 11, 2011 at 02:59 PM
I think the food truck event should be allowed to continue, it's a great way to bring community together and create a positive and friendly atmosphere, not to mention the good food! Thanks for the article and for the info about who to contact.
Meredith Miller September 11, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Lisa: Thank you for your comments. It sounds like you have first-hand knowledge of the permit process. To respond, our enthusiasm is far from declining. If that were the case, we would just let our event close out. To indicate that it has anything to do with making a profit is vastly incorrect...think about it, how much money could be made from a 4-hour period that happens only once a month? I would certainly not be a smart business person if I counted on such a situation. No, this is about dealing with a business-unfriendly system that puts unreasonable burdens on us in order to meet their own broken requirements. We have been working diligently for the past few weeks to provide the necessary paperwork for the County to grant/extend a new TUP. Unfortunately, they have changed the requirements and fee structure at the end of the game and that is what this is all about. And yes, we made copies! Since you seem to be very up-to-date on how the process works, we invite you to help us in obtaining our permit so Fancy Food Truck Fridays can continue. Community support is what we need now.
Leslie Aitken September 11, 2011 at 03:48 PM
There was a very interesting program on Public Access on Labor Day. It was made in the late 80's and highlighted the growth and development of Pasadena and Altadena. Those who founded this area were people of vision and dreams. Late 1890's/early 1900's, there was a train that went up Lake Street to a restaurant and Hotel. People came from all over the country to ride the train and the incline. Here we are in 2011 with NO town center, inadequate services and a county waiting with permits in hand to put the kabash on anything fun, innovative or new. PROGRESS? I think not.
Leslie Aitken September 11, 2011 at 04:04 PM
Lisa -- again with the "Debbie Downer" negativity. Before accusing the Webster's businesses of losing interest, or understanding their knowledge of the county system and requirements, perhaps you could talk to them about what might be helpful. What they are doing is the most community cohesive event that I have seen since the annual "Altadena Old Fashioned Days Parade". That ended years ago. Lets applaud and support them and their initiative.
Lisa Hastings September 11, 2011 at 10:36 PM
@ Leslie "Pollyanna" Aitken: Again with your head in the cloud bias and total misinterpretation of the facts. Sigh. I was MERELY trying to point out that the permit process is not unique to Altadena. The ONLY reason for pointing that out is that there is a misconception in Altadena that ONLY the county imposes onerous requirements on businesses. But you are pure bubbles and rah rah Altadena and bad county, so you probably won't get this clarification of my point. @ Meredith. The ONLY reason I said that MAYBE you lost enthusiasm is because the editor stated above," it is less about the money and more about the time required to deal with the permit process, and the uncertainty of the long-term outcome if they put more effort into the process." For a business, it is reasonably assumed that this would include thinking about the financial costs--you were quoted in the article stating that you have a business to run. Oh my. And, once again, I am no fan of the county and the food truck should continue, so I wish the Webster businesses good luck. However, it is unrealistic and ignorant to expect that the county is going to ignore their own rules and county ordinances and not require a review process. But the county is weird, they have been known to do it!
Lori A. Webster September 12, 2011 at 12:28 AM
Both Meredith and I do have businesses to run, Lisa, and this complicated permit process is taking our time away from that. Because of the economic downturn, each of our stores are operating with minimal staff. Perhaps you can be part of the solution and volunteer your time to help with this (in your opinion) run-of-the-mill permitting process instead of taking thinly-veiled swipes at us. Think you can run down to the County Assessor's office and get the names of the near-by residents, buy a bunch of mailing labels, input them all into a computer system and print out envelopes for us? I'll give you the money you'll need to pay for the addresses, and for the labels. Oh yes, then we'll need stamps and someone to drive the labeled envelopes over to the County's Regional Planning office.....you still up for it? We'll also need someone to do a detailed rendering of the parking lot and surrounding area showing ingress, egress, oak trees, structures, residences and where the parking is for the trucks and for attendees. Maybe by now, you're thinking it's not such a cake walk after all.....
Lisa Hastings September 12, 2011 at 01:18 AM
@ Lori. You don't get the point either. I never said it was easy. I only said the county is not unique in its requirements; no city allows people to set up this type of event without a review process which includes notification of residents within 500 feet. After all, the permit you had was temporary. Now that this event is ongoing, the county has more burdensome requirements because the event is looking like it will be permanent. The procedures you are describing are required by other cities, too, so you can't say it is just a county thing. Those are the facts. If you want me to get all rah rah with you about your event forget it. That's what Leslie Aitken is for. Me-- I'm a facts person. Do me a favor and re-read my posts on this subject and you will see that I have nothing bad to say about your business or the food truck event; I want to see your business and the truck event continue. And once again, I am no fan of the county. I would rather see Altadena incorporated so that these types of problems could be handled locally.
Leslie Aitken September 12, 2011 at 06:26 AM
"Pollyanna", "pure bubbles and rah-rah Altadena"?! I'LL TAKE IT! If the worst someone can say about me is that I am enthusiastic and positive -- then HALLELUJAH! I can think of a lot worse things to be accused of!
Lori A. Webster September 12, 2011 at 04:50 PM
Exactly, Leslie....what a back-handed compliment!
Steve Lamb September 12, 2011 at 05:32 PM
I am confused. What is there for the County to study? Everything remains the same, just take the money you greedy government rat bastards and push the permit through. Why all the rigamarole? To I guess justify the jobs of overpaid otherwise unemployable government workers? And yes, Rah RAH ALTADENA!!! @ Lisa- you know , were I to open a Church in Bill Webster's un-rented store front, I could do this event as a Church fundraiser every single week without a permit from the County.........Just saying...
Lisa Hastings September 12, 2011 at 06:20 PM
@ Steve. The churches seem to have no problem conducting business in Altadena. That explains the proliferation of churches on Lake Avenue. And why not market the food truck event and any other event as a church event? Look at that event this weekend: a farmers market, food truck, etc. event and no drama pulling it off. They even got away with shutting down Mariposa St. to traffic. Magic! Forget the chamber of commerce. Get a church to sponsor the food truck event and no more county red tape. I am serious. Get out the pom poms. Leslie gets to be head cheerleader. LOL
Steve Lamb September 12, 2011 at 06:38 PM
Lisa- EXACTLY. A new church in town is allowed to do what the rest of the community has been told it can not do for a decade! So the way around government it seems is religion...And I've been reverenized, so it seems I can use my revernization to do good works....
Steve Lamb September 12, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Of course Church people just send money if the pastor tells them to and they even show up at public hearings.....Hard to get the non churched heathens to do the same....
Lisa Hastings September 12, 2011 at 10:10 PM
So Meredith and Lori, find a church to sponsor your food truck event and no more permit issues. Serious.
Lori A. Webster September 12, 2011 at 10:26 PM
: o
Lori A. Webster September 12, 2011 at 10:48 PM
You know, this is really a hilarious conversation. If someone not from Altadena read this entire thread, they'd be scratching their heads wondering what is wrong with us. There are no churches offering their non-profit status to us at this time, however, the suggestion is duly noted, Lisa, and you could be right. I'm glad you showed your sense of humor here, you're actually pretty funny.
mister altadena September 13, 2011 at 02:31 PM
No one dares to step on the toes of churches. And up here, that equals a lot of toes. The business of religion! I sure hope that churches DON'T get more involved in our daily lives nor do more to promote business in Altadena. The event this past wknd was pulled off b/c the church is well connected, may (I don't know) have some deep pockets and experience in putting on these events. Lastly, they had a big interest and desire to do this. They should be commended for that desire. I'd rather challenge local civic non-profit groups to step up, take notice, and use this event as an example of how to get things done vs. being so complacent.
Charles D September 13, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Altadena is going no where, real fast. Reading this article as the editor has described "tough new hurdles to meet" implies that any future effort may perhaps be futile. The business owners have been generous enough to offer space and open themselves to more liability. Private business owners operate on a different set of rules, wherein they are accountable for their actions. Often times, minimum staffing is found to lower overall over head cost. Owner operator often times exemplify the concept of "multi-tasking". That's what it means to operate a business. Instead of making statements that aren't appropriate to describe the business involved, why not invest time in this? They've described the process required to satisfy Los Angeles County. Can you volunteer as it appears you have a very high interest with this issue. I believe Los Angeles County have put these rules in place to protect the local residents in or around the event. They have the right to live in peace. Think positive, and please be responsible with your comments.
Lori A. Webster September 13, 2011 at 10:40 PM
Charles, are you directing your comment to me? I AM one of those owners that was "generous enough to offer space and open themselves to more liability".
Steve Lamb September 13, 2011 at 11:30 PM
Charles- your comments seem to be both confused and confusing. The County has NO PROBLEM ignoring the peace and quiet of the neighbors say when approving Bienvenidos, and soon after the LUC and the ATC vote against it the charter school for there, but when its actually a once a month as opposed to a all day everyday event, suddenly the County has so much concern.....A CUP for all eternity for 8 grand for one group, $900 every nine months for another. Against the wishes of a whole town for the project with the most impact,concerned about people who havent even complained on the project with almost no impact....Where are you?

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