Food Carts, Trucks in Burbank Must Adhere to Health and License Standards

Food Trucks line up on Magnolia Blvd., waiting for Magnolia Park Night Out to begin during a previous year (Photo by Lisa Paredes)

With the ongoing controversy regarding Tinhorn Flats, there have been those in the community that are asking if the same standards are being used when it comes to local food tracks and carts in Burbank.

Food carts and trucks must be licensed by the City of Burbank to operate within the city.

For food carts, the owner must provide valid identification, lost the types of food or merchandise to be sold, and if a food cart, must provide a copy of the Los Angeles County Health Department certificate before receiving a license which will last for one year.

Once in the food cart is in place, there are also the following conditions:

Vending on City sidewalks shall be prohibited:

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  • Within 5 feet of a marked crosswalk
  • Within 5 feet of the curb return of an unmarked crosswalk.
  • Within 5 feet of any fire hydrant, fire call box or other emergency facility, as defined in Within 5 feet ahead and 45 feet to the rear of a sign designating a bus stop.
  • Within a marked bus zone. Within 5 feet of a bus bench. Within 10 feet of a transit shelter.
  • Within 5 feet of an area improved with lawn, flowers shrubs, trees or street tree well. Within 5 feet of a driveway or driveway apron.
  • Within 4 feet of an outdoor dining or patio dining area. Within 18 inches from the edge of the curb.
  • Placement shall not impede the flow of pedestrian traffic by reducing the clear space to less than 5 feet, or impede access to, egress from or the use of abutting property, including, but not limited to, residences and places of business.
  • Within 3 feet of a door or entrance/exit to a building. In any zone where “No Vending” signs are posted
  • On City-owned property without prior City approval.

These regulations came to light after a complaint that there was an unlicensed food cart operating near Home Depot last week. A copy of the complaint was forwarded to myBurbank. Simone McFarland, Public Information Officer for the City of Burbank replied that Burbank License Inspectors had gone to the scene.

“Code enforcement investigated this on Friday and found that LA County is also contacting street vendors in Burbank as well to verify if they have an issued LA County Health Permit. Additionally, they inform street vendors that following issuance of an LA County Health Permit that they must also apply for a Street Vendor Permit with Burbank.

In the case of the vendor at Home Depot, staff found that he was not vending when they arrived. After being informed of the requirements by County Health, the vendor called his boss to have the cart transported away and was waiting for a ride when Burbank staff arrived.”

While food trucks have somewhat different standards, they also must have a Burbank Business License to operate in the City. In the case of the truck that Tinhorn Flats was trying to lease, it was determined that the truck did not have a Burbank Business License and after the owner of the truck was given the information and how to apply for the license, he declined and left the city.

Ashley Erikson who runs the soon to be renamed Ladies and Gents Night Out in Magnolia Park, does her homework in advance. She lines each truck for the event, and gives them the location for them to park. “After all trucks have booked with me, I send public works the list of trucks and they cross-reference it with their permits. If there is a truck without a permit they contact them to make sure they get their license in time, or contact me to send them over to the community services building.”

Los Angeles County Health oversees all Health Permits for anyone selling food. We asked the department not only what they are doing about carts and trucks, but how concerned citizens could file a complaint. “Public Health prioritizes education with vendors regarding proper procedures/licensing for street food vending, and seeks to utilize enforcement measures as a last resort. We are aware of the issues in Burbank and throughout the County of Los Angeles, which are brought to Public Health’s attention both through observations made by inspectors and complaints received from the public.

There are several avenues for complaints to be registered with our inspectors. Members of the public may submit a complaint online at, or by calling 888-700-9995. All complaints may be made anonymously. Response times vary based on the availability of local law enforcement to provide safety and security for our inspectors investigating complaints of unregulated food businesses.”

McFarland says the the City of Burbank also has avenues for the public to weigh in locally, “With our limited staff, we don’t have the resources to actively pursue Code violations but rely on people within our community to bring illegal acts to our attention and then will conduct follow ups. If someone has a concern, they can contact Code Enforcement at or emailing or by calling 818-238-5225.

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  1. I take exception to the comment about “limited staff” since the City authorized ten police officers to stand across the street and watch Tinhorn Flats every Saturday to monitor the building. Fence duty required ten officers.

    Those resources could have also been dedicated to driving around Burbank to identify illegal carts which only require one person, me and that is why I reported the cart at Home Depot.

    I continue to identify illegal carts and report them.

    If the City has money for ten officers, they could take one off fence guarding duty to drive Burbank and look for crimes including this type. Patrols would reveal a lot of crime. I drive Burbank weekly and on every trip, I see illegal food, retailers not keeping the front of their stores clean (as required by BMC) and other problems throughout the City.

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