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Taco trucks return to Charlotte City Council

The Charlotte City Council tonight is expected to take a final vote on changes to the way taco trucks do business. The new ordinance has taken more than a year to settle, because of outcry from both sides of the issue. Since most mobile food vendors in Charlotte are taco trucks, some speculate the stricter rules are racially motivated. However, Ed Garber of the Eastside Political Action Committee says neighbors don't want to put the trucks out of business. "But they expect those businesses to run with respect for the community and that has not happened," says Garber. "And that's not an ethnic issue. That's the way people choose to do business. And there are people who have invested in this community who are going to be left holding the bag when those people do what ever they want and leave the mess for us and they just drive away." Residents complain the trucks routinely stay open past the 9 p.m. curfew required by law. They also say the trucks are messy and noisy and attract crime. City officials have sworn to step up their enforcement. And taco vendors actually say part of the new ordinance is good for them because they'll be allowed to stay in one location longer and pay fewer permit fees. Their main concern is the curfew, says Victor Santiago who runs a truck called Tacos El Nevado. "We want to change the time, because more people come to my business late - after 9 o'clock," says Santiago. A city council committee has already rejected the vendors' request to stay open past 9 p.m., so that change will not be part of the ordinance the full council will consider tonight.