Seattle taco truck may be forced to move after 'aesthetically unappealing' complaints

by: Rob Munoz Updated:

For the past three years, Samuel Sotelo has arrived at his taco truck on the corner of E Union Street and 21st Avenue in Seattle to prep before opening up.

Taqueria Sotelo, the name of the truck business, has attracted a loyal following.

“I have a lot of good customers you know? They really like the food, and they really like the customer service,” Sotelo told KIRO 7.

But Tuesday morning, Sotelo says he learned his business may have to wheel itself elsewhere, away from where it’s been for the past three years.

The city of Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections may force the truck to move. The reason: neighbor complaints. Some which called the taco truck “aesthetically unappealing.” 

“Yesterday, the owner of the land came to talk to me, and said somebody's complaining,” Sotelo said. “The neighbors... I don't know... that it doesn't look good for the neighborhood, the truck being here.”

The site where he’s parked is an old Shell gas station, owned by Ian Eisenberg, owner of Seattle pot shop, Uncle Ike’s. Eisenberg allowed the truck to be parked there, Sotelo told KIRO 7.

The anonymous complaint to the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections means the truck may have to get the boot. 

Seattle Dept. of Construction & Inspections told KIRO 7 in a statement: “A complaint was filed by a member of the public at the end of October regarding storage of several vehicles on the property and the location of the food truck. Food trucks are allowed on private property, but there can be restrictions on where they’re placed within it. We’ll be working with the owner to find other options for maintaining the food truck.”

KIRO 7 also reached out to Eisenberg, and he told us it was a result of the complaints. He's trying to find space on his lot for the truck. 

His property on 21st & Union has received other complaints, including one about a sign posted.

Neighbors say they don’t understand why the truck, which nearly almost always has a line during business hours, is being targeted.

“They're not exactly cornering the market in the neighborhood. There's a lot of other businesses here. They're not loud. I don't understand what the concern is,” said neighbor Gregory Whiting.

Sotelo says from what he understands, he may have about a week to find a new home, but says Taqueria Sotelo will roll on.

“I work hard, and I really like what I do,” Sotelo said.


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