JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – There is an uproar in Jacksonville as several local food truck vendors are filing a lawsuit against the city over rules and regulations.

On Wednesday, the Institute for Justice held a press conference with these small business owners about their complaints. Local business owners like Northwoods Urban Farm want to support and promote other people to shop small. But with the city’s ordinances regarding food vendors, it prevents them from operating on their property.

“The more availability that we have, the more that we can work together, the more that we can expose our customers to each of our businesses, the better it is for the community and for the economy,” said Nicole Gonzalez, owner of Northwoods Urban Farm.

Northwoods Urban Farm is one of the plaintiffs in the suit alongside The Spot and The Cheesesteak Hustle Food Trucks.  

“It’s kind of pointless to have a food truck in the eyes of the City of Jacksonville,” said Octavious “Ray” Raymond, owner of The Cheesesteak Hustle.

According to the city’s code of ordinances, food trucks are prohibited from operating within 250 feet of another food truck, restaurant or residential property.

“Those two restrictions alone eliminate food trucks from 96% of the City of Jacksonville,” said Bob Belden, an attorney with the Institute for Justice.

They also add that a food truck owner can only put one sign on the ground within 20 feet of the truck and can’t have any signs on the top, reducing some owners to spending their money on advertising instead of towards other items for their truck.

“This has cost me and my business, on average about $1,200 a month in advertising fees through social media, because the city restricts us from putting up any type of signage,” said Tony Proctor, owner of The Spot.

Lastly, Jacksonville requires businesses to pay a $300 permit fee, which the Institute for Justice argues doesn’t cost that much to collect and review a permit application.

“Facing those barriers to their economic liberties and their property rights, Tony, Nicole and Ray teamed up with IJ (Institute for Justice) to file a constitutional lawsuit against the city,” said Belden.

In response, the city stated they were unaware of the lawsuit and that once their attorney has reviewed the documents, a comment will be provided. The City of Jacksonville’s full statement reads, “The City has not yet been served with a lawsuit filed against the City on behalf of a food truck owner in reference to the City’s food truck regulations, nor were we contacted by an attorney prior to the filing of the lawsuit. After the City Attorney has documents in hand and has time to review them, a comment will be provided.”

The City of Jacksonville also mentioned another food truck uninvolved in the suit wanted to address some of these same issues and set up a meeting for later this month.

To see the food truck ordinances for the City of Jacksonville, click here.