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Salt Lake City could become a friendlier place to food trucks. On Tuesday, the City Council discussed a proposed ordinance to govern mobile food businesses.

Presently, there are four such businesses licensed in Salt Lake City, but they are limited to parking in public stalls for no more than two hours.

"The current regulations we have ... didn't anticipate the kind of mobile food vending carts we're seeing explode around the country and in the Salt Lake Valley, as well," said Joel Paterson, the city's planning manager.

Under the proposal, food trucks could park in an on-street stall for up to 12 hours in a 24-hour period so long as they cover any associated parking fees and they serve customers on the sidewalk.

To avoid unfair competition with brick-and-mortar restaurants, food trucks would have to be at least 100 feet from other eateries — unless restaurants grant permission for food trucks to be closer.

The distance requirement also applies to special events, such as the downtown farmers market and the Living Traditions festival.

Mobile food businesses would have to comply with health regulations and have a signed agreement for use of a restroom within 500 feet.

Food trucks would not be allowed to park in residential neighborhoods but could park in commercial and industrial areas in public stalls or on private property with the owner's permission. Only one food truck would be allowed per block face.

But operators hoping to cluster together could seek a permit for a "mobile food court" where two to 10 food trucks could park on private property at least 2,000 square feet in size.

"I think it's an interesting way to increase pedestrian traffic and make areas of the city more vibrant without having to invest quite a bit," said City Councilman Charlie Luke.

The council plans to hold a public hearing on the issue on May 1.