A food truck in Bucyrus may be subject to toll regulations
The growing popularity of food trucks in the area sparked discussion at Monday’s meeting of the City of Bucyrus’ Zoning Board of Appeals.
“Food trucks are not regulated in our codes,” said Planning, Zoning, Floodplain and IT Director John Rostash. “This is not regulated in the downtown business district or in our zoning code anywhere.”
Before addressing the issue, the city looked at other communities’ ordinances and decided to open a discussion about ways to license or allow food trucks in the downtown business district, he said.
“There are a lot of communities that organize it,” Rostash said.
Other communities have permit fees paid by food truck vendors, ranging from daily and monthly contributions to semi-annual and annual permit fees, he said. Most of them require Department of Health inspection.
Rostash points out that Crawford County Health Commissioner Kitty Seifert conducts annual inspections of food trucks, the health department said. He continued that most food trucks are subject to inspection by the home county regardless of their trips within the state.
Board member Dennis Tenor said the food truck licensing process in Bucyrus should be simple, so as not to create additional barriers.
“We don’t want to do like this first page, or a six-page spread where someone will look at it like I’m not going to bother them,” Tenor said.
Advantages and disadvantages
Other board members cited some arguments against licensing food truck vendors, such as the fact that they do not pay income taxes to the city, and are offset somewhat by licensing fees.
In addition, the council discussed the nuances of having fruit and vegetable stands in the city limits in the residential real estate area. According to city ordinances, in this case the product must be grown on the property where it is sold.
“But the downtown business district allows retail food sales,” Rostash said.
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Board members also stated that food trucks provide food options and dietary diversity to the community although at the expense of local business owners who lose thousands of dollars.
For this reason, the Board will consider establishing regulations for food trucks similar to those for stationary food businesses.
“They’re no different than a restaurant,” Tyner said.
The council decided to postpone the issue for further study by the Department of Planning, Zoning, Floodplains and Information Technology.