Friendswood city officials debated the possibility of allowing mobile vendors, such as food trucks and coffee trailers, to permanently set up shop in the community.

The full story

On Feb. 5, Friendswood City Council discussed its policy for mobile vendors.

The city allows mobile vendors to temporarily sell in the city under the condition that they get a special event permit to participate in an event hosted by a brick-and-mortar business owner, Director of Community Development Aubrey Harbin said.

The city could potentially also allow developers to create a food truck park with multiple trucks and seating in a privately owned space, Harbin said.

The specifics

According to a presentation shared with City Council at the meeting, the benefits of allowing food trucks to operate regularly in Friendswood include:
  • Increasing Friendswood’s sales tax base
  • Diversifying the dining offerings in Friendswood
  • Creating opportunities for small, start-up businesses
The presentation also included downsides, such as:
  • Diminishing the aesthetics of the community
  • Parking on property without the owner’s consent
  • No restroom availability
  • Competition with brick-and-mortar shops
In their own words

Some City Council members felt easing restrictions on food trucks would help diversify Friendswood’s dining options.

“One of the questions I’ve got with my background is how this city is lacking a lot of restaurants and different things," said council member Brent Erenwert, who serves as the president of Brother’s Produce, a statewide fresh produce distributor. “I think there’s a lot of demand to bring restaurants here, and I think food trucks allow a segue to a possible brick and mortar.”

Erenwert added that he felt, in this economic climate, it would be harder to attract brick-and-mortar restaurants than it would be to attract food trucks.

Erenwert also pointed out that many food trucks have opened up along FM 528 in the Bay Area. However, not all council members agreed new food trucks along major roadways was a positive thing.

“I don’t want it to look like [the] Bay Area and [FM] 528,” council member Trish Hanks said. “I don’t want the windshield repair and all that kind of stuff. I would not be in favor of opening it up. I don’t know if there’s a compromise somewhere—if we had a food truck park, that would be fun, but I would not be in favor of just opening it up to anyone, anywhere.”