Food truck in driveway bugs San Jose neighbors

August 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A food truck in the front yard of a San Jose home is causing a lot of complaints. Neighbors are fed up with traffic congestion and noise at all hours.

A food cart offering $1 tacos popped up three weeks ago on Marsh Street in San Jose. Customers were shocked that someone wants it closed down.

Emails sent to San Jose's Police and Code Enforcement Departments claim that the food cart, and what looks like restaurant seating in a home's driveway, attracts too many people including gangs into the neighborhood. They also claim it's unsanitary.

A woman who did not want to be identified said, "The problem is they take the whole parking lot. There is no space for us to park. The customers they come and block the street in the driveways, they throw the oil in the drains where the water is supposed to be."

But not all neighbors are upset. Ed Allen lives across the street said "I was going to take the girls over, I mean, they've got tacos for a buck, I was going to go over and check it out and see what they got. They're going 24 hours a day. I think it's a really cool thing. I haven't seen any problems at all."

The biggest issue is that the operator has turned the driveway of the home he rents into a restaurant.

Mike Hannon, the director from the San Jose Code Enforcement Department said, "That's not a permitted use in a residential neighborhood, primarily of the impacts that the neighbors describe, the noise, traffic, parking, all these things we don't want impacting our neighborhoods."

Hannon believes the cart is probably operating without permits, but the operator, Nathaniel Chacon, produced not only health certificates but tax forms, permits, even a business license. He says no one has ever complained to him. He says if he loses this he and two others lose the only income they have.

Chacon said, "I don't know what to say. I've done everything I can. If I lose this, I don't have another job. If I knew there was a problem, I would have fixed it."

The future of this small business will be decided Wednesday. That's when code enforcement investigators and the owner of the property will meet to figure out if it has any future at all.

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