Last night while much of OP was intently watching our live online candidate forum for aspiring Aldermen, the Chapel Hill Town Council was discussing proposed new foodtruck regulations. To me they sound very limiting, including provisions that they cannot operate within 100 feet of an open restaurant, that they can only be located on private property, and that the truck and property must both get permits from the Town. Even with these restrictions, WCHL's Elizabeth Friend reported that the Chapel Hill Chamber of Commerce and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership opposed the change.
This makes it pretty clear to me that the perceived interests of their members is more important to the Chamber of Commerce than the success and sustainability of our local economy. This is especially problematic when you remember that that their members include corporations like Wal-Mart, Duke Energy, Progress Energy, PSNC Energy, Wachovia, Tanger Outlets, Time-Warner Cable, GEICO, Costco, and countless real estate agencies (that spent so much money in 2008 defeating the best proposal Orange County has had to raise tax revenue fairly). If their purpose is primarily to be a club for it's own members benfit, I don't see why the rest of us should be all that concerned about what they think. It's not like they're representing me or thinking about my family's best interests.
And as for the CHDP's opposition, I am again left thinking they must have a very different idea than I do about what makes an urban area work. It's not sterility or a controlled experience (although our downtown could be a hell of a lot cleaner), it's the sense of life, culture, buzz, combined with activities and products that people want and can afford. Food trucks are a perfect example of this. Given that "a survey of downtown businesses and property owners showed no clear majority for or against foodtrucks in downtown" according to their letter (PDF) to the Town, I am truly baffled at their position.
Perhaps we should all go back and read What we can learn from Durham again...