Permit for late-night taco truck upsets neighbors in San Francisco's Cow Hollow

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ByDion Lim via KGO logo
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
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Taco truck drama is happening in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood after dozens of neighbors petitioned to prevent a food truck from parking on their street.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Taco truck drama is happening in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood after dozens of neighbors petitioned to prevent a food truck from parking on their street.

A notice of intent for a mobile food facility permit is posted on a building wall along Buchanan Street at the intersection of Union Street.

This permit is what triggered a group of residents, like Chris Windbiel, to start petitioning the city to stop the food truck from parking and operating in the early morning hours in their neighborhood.

"I have absolutely nothing against food trucks. I love then and I go to them but I go to Fort Mason. I go to the Presidio. There's a time and place for everything and I don't think six nights a week from 10 pm to midnight or midnight to 2 am with a residential neighborhood is appropriate," says Windbiel.

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Windbiel has lived in Cow Hollow for over 30 years near the restaurant and bar-laden Union Street and knew what she was getting into.

"But when people are inside bars it's noisy. It's muted. So the sounds are muffled. But when they step onto the street, BOOM! The noise level escalates," says Windbiel.

According to the permit notice, a taco truck called "Street Meet" plans to operate between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am. The Department of Public Works tells ABC7 News more than 80 people have filed petitions against the permit, believing the truck will bring not only extra noise, but trash and debauchery.

Only a handful were in favor of the truck in their neighborhood.

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Marco Mejia owns and operates three Street Meet taco trucks in the city and says for a couple of years, he parked without a permit in Cow Hollow.

"There are a lot of bars down there so all the drunk people coming out of the bars... They come out really drunk and they eat some food and they'll be feeling better."

Meija says during those two years he learned many things about the neighborhood, such as keeping the noise level down and addressing other issues.

"I used to have private security... My security would go over and separate all the drunk people... And we put three garbage cans in front of our truck."

Meija continues, to say he also doesn't plan to operate six nights a week, but rather only three days.

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The Department of Public Works confirms this, saying technically Street Meet wants to operate three days, but since the hours of 10pm bleed into the next day at 2am, it appears on the permit as 6 days.

Supervisor Catherine Stefani's office provided ABC7 News a statement saying in part, "the robust community outreach is important in the city permitting process" and that her office will "continue to monitor this item closely."

A public hearing on the permit will happen in the coming months.

In the meantime, Chris is focusing on the bigger picture, and doesn't believe the noise issue can be solved if the truck is permitted to operate so late.

"San Francisco has so many other problems but this is going to start pulling resources away from things that are much more important."