Community members stick up for food truck told to close on Pine Island

Reporter: Andrea Guerrero Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
El Viejon Tac food truck on Pine Island was told in June 2021 it had to close down because zoning in Lee County does not allow it to set up shop on Pine Island Road. Credit: WINK News.

Lee County told the owners of a food truck on Pine Island they needed to close down, and community members are unhappy about it.

People lined up Wednesday to get one last taste of authentic Mexican food at El Viejon Taco food truck on Pine Island.

The owners of El Viejon Taco told us zoning for Pine Island Road does not permit food trucks.

With tears in her eyes, co-owner Cahroy Garcia said all she wants is to continue serving her community and doesn’t understand why she was allowed to operate the last four months.

“They didn’t send us a letter beforehand,” co-owner Alfredo Gomez said in Spanish that was translated to English. “The inspector simply came to tell us that we have to close by tomorrow.”

The owners say they’ve followed every rule Lee County and the health department put in front of them.

Garcia and Gomez told us inspectors gave them to the green light to operate.

“Why are they shutting us down it all we do is sell food,” Garcia said in Spanish translated to English. “I understand if I was doing something illegal, but I try to do everything the right way.”

Their loyal customers on Pine Island say they’ll take up the fight to save the food trucks.

“The county said they’re going to put this on the agenda for August to allow food trucks on greater Pine Island. It’s just going to take them a little bit of time,” Mark Penna said. “Well, that time affects this business that’s been here for months and established and put a big investment that could have been stopped four months ago on their a first violation and said, ‘Hey, you’re not allowed to be here.”

The county could make changes, but there is no time frame for that.

A Lee County spokesperson told us food trucks in unincorporated Lee County are only permitted on private property in Lehigh Acres.

Copyright ©2023 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.