Palmetto commission to consider food truck ordinance

jdeleon@bradenton.comMarch 3, 2013 

PALMETTO -- The Palmetto City Commission will have the first reading tonight of a new ordinance that will regulate food trucks and other mobile or temporary vendors.

The proposed ordinance will provide a definition for vendors such as food trucks and categorize them as daily, seasonal or other.

Distinguishing the difference will allow city officials to regulate as needed.

"The ordinance has evolved over the last month or two. We want some guidance but we don't want to overregulate," City Clerk Jim Freeman said.

While overregulation is not the goal, the ordinance was prompted by complaints from residents.

"Some of the issues we were having with some of them is that they are not really mobile food," Freeman said.

Other problems have arisen as well.

"We have some concerns with blocking and using areas that are meant for other things," City Attorney Mark Barnebey said.

Parking has been one example of this problem, with vendors often times taking up parking of other businesses.

Guidelines will be minimal such as no parking in driving aisles, and no parking in visibility triangles.

"I think they want to minimize as much regulation as possible because they don't want to discourage business," Barnebey said.

By distinguishing between the different types of vendors, the ordinance will stipulate requirements for each.

Food trucks and other vendors classified as daily, that remove goods and services from a given location daily, will not be required to have a permit.

Seasonal vendors, such as Christmas tree vendors that set up at fixed location for no longer than 90 days, will be required to get a temporary use permit.

All other vendors not classified as daily or seasonal would be considered a permanent business and subject to city ordinances.

The ordinance, which focuses on vendors on private property, also stipulates that any vendor using public property or blocking rights of way shall be subject to a special functions permit.

Monday's workshop is set for 4:30-6 p.m. and the commission will meet at 7 p.m. in Palmetto City Hall, 516 Eighth Ave. W.

If approved, public hearings are tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. March 18 and April 1.

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