South Padre Island sees about 4 million visitors a year. Which makes it a hot spot for restaurants. But for food truck owners, it can be frustrating.
The city has ordinances capping the number of mobile food vendor permits. They also need permission from existing island restaurants to operate.
Arif Panju with Institute for Justice is representing two groups of vendors, Surfvive and Chile de Arbol.
The owners aren’t able to open food trucks at the island, so they’re suing the city.
“Because of that, we’ve decided to file a lawsuit and challenge the constitutionality of those two food truck restrictions,” Panju said. “Because the city caps the number of permits.”
City leaders of South Padre Island have set a limit of 12 food trucks operating on the island.
“If there’s no more permits available regardless of who took the permits, whether it’s restaurants or food trucks, no food trucks can show up and open for business,” he said.
Surfvive tried to open their business twice and were denied each time. Panju believes it shouldn’t be up to the competitors who get to run a business.
“That’s up to consumers to decide. Government doesn’t get to reduce the number of food options that are on the island. That’s up to consumers to decide.”
Panju is hoping to get a declaration from the Cameron County District Court stating that the ordinance is unconstitutional.
“This lawsuit doesn’t seek damages. It simply seeks an injunction to prevent South Padre Island’s government from enforcing these restrictions further.”
CBS 4 reached out to the city of South Padre Island who declined to comment. City leaders say that haven’t received the lawsuit yet.