(Posted Dec. 11, 2019)
By Andrew Garrett, Staff Writer
Food trucks operating within the city of London may soon find themselves under new regulations.
On Dec. 5, city council heard the first reading of legislation that, if passed, will provide for regulation, licensure and a permitting process for the use of mobile food vending units (food trucks) in public spaces such as parks, sidewalks, streets or any other type of right of way.
The ordinance is intended to provide regulation to trucks selling to the general public, not those that operate only on private property for temporary use and not for general consumption.
Currently, the city has no laws addressing where and when food trucks can conduct business.
According to Joe Russell, council president, currently a mobile food vendor is free to pull up to any spot along the street and set up shop for as long as he or she wishes–even in front of a person’s house or business.
Not only are they not bound by the rules that govern dine-in establishments, they also generate no tax revenue and don’t have the responsibility of having to file sales tax.
Some local brick-and-mortar restaurants see the lack of regulation as unfair and have made complaints to the city. Their concerns are one of the main reasons the new legislation was drafted, Russell said.
“Basically, what this is going to do is give the authority to the safety service director to identify places within the city for which food trucks can operate,” he said. “Any operator can come to the city and apply and pay a permit fee to operate that food truck at that location at a specified time.”
The proposal calls for an annual permit fee of $100 and temporary permit fees of $25.
Other regulations would include specifications for the size of trucks (setting a maximum length of 25 feet) and sound limits on truck generators not to exceed 66 decibels measured from nine feet away.
Russell hopes the regulations will lead to more of a “food culture” in the city and envisions events like a food truck festival at Cowling Park.
In other business, council approved the appropriation of $174,000 from the general donations line to the parks and recreation donations line of the budget. The large donation came from the late Jerry Alcott and BST and makes possible the construction of a new splash pad and the reconstruction of the bath house at the municipal swimming pool complex. This latest donation brings Alcott’s and BST’s total contribution to the pool to a whopping $302,148.44, according to Mayor Pat Closser.
Council also passed a resolution appropriating $18,306.14 earmarked for the construction of a shelter house at the city’s dog park.