City rolls out new food truck rules

Posted on October 22, 2013 by

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city logoFood trucks have become a popular part of Charlottesville’s proud dining culture, and it’s this popularity that has lead the city to draft some new rules for these vendors to follow.

In order to regulate the growing presence of mobile food units, the city now requires vendors to obtain a permit to set up on private property.

Each $100 permit allows food truck operators and other mobile vendors to set up on 10 nonresidential sites in the city.

To obtain a permit, vendors are required to provide the city with their license from the Health Department, a business license, a sketch of each private property they wish to vend on, as well as approval from the property owner.

Read Brodhead, the city’s zoning administrator, said he hasn’t set a deadline for vendors to obtain the permit, but he hopes they will be proactive about the process.

IMAG1062Patrick Kim, owner of Hanu Truck, said, “Because food trucks are gaining more popularity and increasing in number, I agree that regulations need to be clearly put in place just so were all on the same page.”

However, Kim said he doesn’t understand why each permit only allows the vendors to set up on 10 sites.

“With private events, regular events and our regular spots like breweries … those 10 spots could easily have to be renewed monthly.”

Kim said he believes that having the proper licenses and getting permission from the property owner should be enough.

Justin and Keshia Wert, owners of Mouth Wide Open, said they are talking with other vendors about possibly renting a spot for a food truck court and can see both sides of the issue when it comes to the permit.

“Overall, the new ordinance will be beneficial in that it allows food trucks to operate on private lots – with owner approval, of course. But this could be cost prohibitive as we each have to pay a $100 fee (per year) for a permit and then we’ll have to pay the private lot owner, too,” the couple said in an email.

Brodhead contends the city is trying to make it easier for mobile vendors to operate legally, and believes asking a vendor to shell out $10 for each private site is a small price to pay for doing business.

“We are not trying to make money, but we do need to cover administrative costs for this program,” Brodhead said.

He said that most of the response to the mobile food scene and the new rules has been positive.

“I think the local businesses are very supportive of this ordinance and I have heard that many restaurants would consider operating a food truck of their own.”

No matter the cost, it doesn’t look like food trucks or the city’s new regulations will be parked in the garage anytime soon.

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Stay tuned for a Cville Food Trucks Round Up Part III soon on the blog!

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