City Council Considers Food Truck Ordinance

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Food trucks are returning in popularity, and never more so than when hungry lunch-time employees could not sit down in a restaurant to enjoy a meal due to the pandemic.

With that in mind, Economic Development Director Phillip Smart has proposed an ordinance to the Minden City Council that will include “Mobile Food Vendors.”

The ordinance reads: “Subject to restrictions and limitations set forth in this ordinance, food trucks may operate in parking spaces within the public right-of-way (amended to read public property) on city owned property at locations and times as may be approved by the City Inspection Department in primary control of such property, and in such other areas as may be permitted by the city’s zoning ordinance, paying a food truck fee and having an occupational license. Provided, that food trucks may not operate on the public right-of-way within 100 (amended to 50) feet of the primary entrance of any type of restaurant located within a permanent structure or building.”

During a Minden City Council workshop, Smart lined out the specific regulations that will apply for public or private property.

“If a food truck is on private property, it still must follow certain guidelines,” Smart said.

“They have to have a permit, so they must meet certain requirements before they can get an occupational license from the city,” Mayor Terry Gardner added. “Just like in a standard restaurant. You won’t see health certificate in here because they already must have one to get the occupational license.”

Another requirement is a food truck sticker.

“That’s so if they want to do events or different things on public property, they will have to get a sticker and renew it each month,” Smart said. “Cost is just like an occupational license, it’s based on the business.”

City attorney Jimbo Yocum explained the sticker as de facto rent for a specific spot.

“We are charging them to be on public property,” he said.

A flat fee of $25 per month will help the city when cleaning up after events where the food trucks have a presence. However, Gardner said it does not allow the trucks to pull up on public property any time and start selling food.

“We want them here,” Gardner said. “We’re not trying to run them off.”

Smart said when the truck owners receive their occupational license, they will also receive a list of spots where they can set up.

“There is a fine ($300) in the ordinance, if the truck owners do not adhere to the law,” Smart said. “That gives it teeth. The police will be the ones to enforce it.”

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