Denver Food Truck Ban Could be Unconstitutional

In a letter to city officials, a law firm called on the city to lift restrictions on food trucks, saying the ban “smacks of protectionism” and could violate equal protection guarantees.

1 minute read

August 22, 2022, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Food truck customers holding food with food trucks in background

Customers at a Denver food truck event. | Arina P Habich / Food trucks

A nonprofit law firm is warning Denver officials that the city’s ban on food trucks in the Lower Downtown district could be unconstitutional, according to an article by Joe Rubino in the Denver Post. “The Institute for Justice, a Virginia-based, nonprofit law firm, sent a letter to Denver City Council members on Wednesday urging the “repeal” of the ban that bars food trucks from portions LoDo on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.” As the article notes, the city clarified that the ban only applies on Friday and Saturday.

“The firm’s lawyers argue the Denver ban ‘smacks of protectionism’ because businesses with permanent storefronts aren’t subject to the same rules. The letter also points to previous Institute for Justice research that indicates food trucks enhance public safety by making streets more inviting and providing more eyes and ears.”

According to the letter, the firm, which has “sued numerous jurisdictions whose laws have impermissibly restricted vendors’ right to economic liberty as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the respective state constitutions,” also works with local governments to “craft vending laws that ensure the public’s health and safety while maximizing opportunities for vendors and consumers alike.”

The Denver Police Department and the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure instituted the ban in July, citing security concerns, but is now considering rolling back the ban “in a limited fashion.”

Friday, August 19, 2022 in Denver Post

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