Prince George's County Council member Jolene Ivey hosted her first town hall of the year at Palmer Park Community Center on Feb. 8. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** Prince George's County Council member Jolene Ivey (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

Food trucks in Prince George’s County are no longer restricted to operating in dedicated hubs solely for their purpose, effective Dec. 27, 2022. Instead, food trucks may operate in certain areas that make an agreement with the food truck operator.

Bill sponsor Council member Jolene Ivey (D-District 5), who passed the bill during the County Council’s previous legislative session, was first able to allow municipal regulation of food trucks and remove some fees from food truck operation in 2019. The 2022 bill allows food trucks to operate in most parts of the County as long as they have permission and obey basic rules.

Ivey was inspired to make the changes after her experience organizing and promoting events for the county’s Parks and Recreation Department, where she found that adding food trucks to events was fun but challenging to do, as there were few places where food trucks could legally operate. 

“It was especially difficult when I put on my last event, the first ‘Celebrate Africa! Festival’,” she said. “It was important to have food available from African countries, but I couldn’t find any food trucks willing to commit for the day for a new festival in a part of the DMV that didn’t have a track record of supporting food trucks.” She was able to get two trucks for that event and then went to the County Council to update the policy. 

Previously, local food trucks were largely kept out by expensive and onerous burdens and forced to operate in the few food truck hubs in the county. “Local food trucks often went to neighboring jurisdictions where it was easier and less expensive to operate,” she said. Ivey now hopes that food trucks can return, and help to provide gourmet and healthy food options across the county.

One of the main benefits touted for food trucks is that they are cheaper to own and operate than a brick-and-mortar restaurant, and many can eventually morph into one. The opportunity to sell different items on the menu and service customers at different locations across the day are unique opportunities that put food trucks at a competitive advantage relative to restaurants. 

Greenbelt entrepreneur LaWann Stribbling says opening a food truck would allow her and other Black chefs and bakers to be on a quicker business path. Considering the limited food truck hubs in the entire county, she applauded the policy change. Stribbling has been a proponent for years of expanding food trucks and cottage industries in the county, and can be seen during Greenbelt’s food truck nights.

Ivey recommends municipal food truck nights, as they present an opportunity for people to meet their neighbors, build community and get delicious food right where they live. 

New Carrollton Mayor Pheleica Nembhard said that she would like to see soul food options brought to her town via food truck. 

The Council member isn’t picking favorites and said she would sample any food truck owned by Prince Georgians if given the opportunity.

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