Mt. Sterling council considers permit process for food trucks

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(Posted June 15, 2021)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Last year, Mount Sterling saw an uptick in food trucks operating in the village due to the pandemic. As a result, village leaders are considering creation of a permit process, map of eligible locations, a list of times the trucks are permitted to operate, and rules of conduct.

Currently, the village does not require a permit or fee, asking instead for a donation from anyone setting up a mobile food unit. By instituting fees and rules, the village could better control when and where food trucks set up, preventing infringement on other food establishments in town.

A first reading on the proposed legislation was held at the June 14 council meeting. The proposal calls for a $40 fee for a one-day permit and a $75 fee for a permit good for up to three days. The village’s building, planning, and zoning department would issue the permit.

The proposal also calls for the village to issue a map designating locations in village right-of-ways, public parks, and other properties where street vendors can set up. Approved permits would be on a first-come, first-served basis. Special accommodations and rules also are proposed for public events and special events. The proposal covers procedures for setting up on private property, as well.

Anyone who violates the rules would be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor and possibly subjected to a fine of $300 per day, impound of their street vending unit, and/or revocation of their permit, if the legislation is enacted.

Council passed the proposed ordinance on first reading with a vote of 5-1.

Council member Becky Martin cast the lone “no” vote. She expressed two concerns, both involving where permit fee revenues go. She said earlier discussions about the matter included the idea that permit fees would go into the parks and recreation fund. That provision was not included in the proposed legislation. Council member Andy Drake proposed to amend the legislation to include the provision; the amendment passed 6-0.

Martin, who is active with the Mount Sterling Chamber of Commerce and the merchants Market Crew, said she also thinks non-profit groups who hold events in the village that involve food trucks should receive the permit fees as part of their fundraising efforts. No amendment was proposed at the June 14 meeting to cover this provision.

Two more readings of the legislation are scheduled at upcoming council meetings.

New stops signs on New

The Ohio Department of Transportation is replacing the bridge over U.S. Route 62 in Mount Sterling. Work began March 15 and is scheduled to wrap up at the end of September. Since work began, residents have reported increased traffic moving at high rates of speed, especially on New and High Streets which motorists are using as cut-throughs.

To help slow down the traffic, the street committee recently installed three four-way stop signs on New Street. They are permanent additions that will remain in place even after the bridge project is complete.

“It’s a hope that we can get those under control without doing any more improvements to New Street. We don’t really want to do that, but at the same time, if we have to, we will look at both New and High again,” said Drake, street committee chair.

Council member David Timmons said he has already noticed a positive difference.

Drake replied, “I think it’s helped. It’s not an A, slam dunk, No. 1 solution because we still have cut-through traffic, but it’s not bad either. It’s a good start.”

Residents of High Street have expressed interest in alternate ways to reduce speed on their street. They might come before council to talk about their ideas, Drake added.

The next street committee meeting is set for July 7 at 8 a.m. at town hall and is open to the public.

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