TROY — The city of Troy is exploring options to add more flexibility to its ordinance in regards to food truck services by extending operating hours and loosening up regulations within city limits.
The law and ordinance committee agreed to support legislation to modify the current city ordinance on Monday.
Tim Davis, planning and zoning manager, reported the proposed changes to the committee and answered various questions.
The proposed amendments include that mobile food vendors can operate for sales purposes in the public right-of-way in all zoning districts. The new amendments also includes an exemption for city-sponsored events if approved by the director of public service and safety.
The committee recommended to proceed with the amendments and included one change made to the proposal suggested by Sarah Lay, a Troy resident and Kona Ice mobile food truck owner. Lay asked if the four-hour sales rule not in the public right-of-way could be extended to six hours to allow for more time for set-up and sales at events. Lay said extending the hour limit by two hours would help, especially for non-profit sales at events such as church events when her company donates a percentage to the organization.
The committee agreed to extend the operation hours from four to six hours.
The proposed amendment now will state: “On private property, land not deemed public Right-of-Way, City of Troy owned property or on land owned by educational institutions, a Mobile Food Vehicle shall not remain stationary in one location for longer than six (6) hours while open for business and operating for sales purposes, provided that Mobile Food Vehicles are setback a minimum often (10) feet from the public Right-of-Way and located in the rear yard as defined by Section 1133.02 (179) of the Codified Ordinances of the City of Troy, Ohio. If a rear yard does not exist on a property then the Mobile Food Vehicle shall be located opposite of the yard which serves as the front entrance of the building.
The other amendment includes: On land owned by the City of Troy or by an educational institution, a Mobile Food vehicle shall not remain stationary in one location for longer than forty-eight (48) hours while open for business and operating for sales purposes, provided that Mobile Food Vehicles are setback a minimum of thirty (30) feet from the public Right-of-Way and approved by the Director of Public Service and Safety.
Committee member Lynne Snee asked if the ordinance would be in affect for private parties on private property. Director of public service and safety Patrick Titterington said if the mobile food truck was placed on private property for an event like a wedding reception, the ordinance would not be in affect other than the 48 hour rule.
“If a food truck is on private property and they are catering to, say, an afternoon shift change at a factory — so they are open, they are situated on private property and only selling to the workers — then they have (now six hours) time,” Titterington said. “If someone is coming to cater for a wedding that is on someone’s private property, that’s different. That’s not subject to the same requirement because they are not selling to the general public.”
Changes to the legislation also include that mobile trucks should not be open for business or operate within 100 yards of an eating place, carry-out, drive-in or other dining establishments. The suggested amendment would make an exception to this rule if written approval is obtained from each business that would be within 100 yards of the eating place and approved by the director of public service and safety.
“Getting their (brick and motor eateries) permission is something we wanted to give some flexibility for, not just the strict 100 yards,” Titterington said. “We talk about the business friendliness, we do have a lot of brick and motor businesses, restaurants and food places and we want to ensure they are protected.”
Council member Alan Clark asked Davis if he spoke to mobile food vendors and asked for a map of places mobile food trucks could set up in the downtown area without asking for establishments’ permission within the 100 yard rule.
Davis said the city does not yet have a map of mobile food truck vendor-friendly areas and that current mobile food vendors were receptive to the proposed changes.
“I think if we restrict this too much we are losing out on a niche market in our downtown,” Clark said. Clark said downtown restaurants like The Caroline and La Piazza are already established and that the mobile food truck market would add more to the downtown area’s atmosphere.
Davis said he believes the amendments adds more flexibility and more opportunities for mobile vendors to set up in Troy.
“There are a lot of properties located downtown that could meet the requirement,” Davis said. Davis gave examples like Cherry Street and areas of Water Street that would be exempt from the 100 yard permission rule.
Council member Brock Heath asked Davis if one restaurant denies a food truck permission, would it shut down that particular food truck area, which Davis stated was correct.
According to the committee packet, in recent months there have been requests that the mobile food vehicles be permitted to remain in one place for a longer time period in order to participate in certain special events. Staff from several departments has met with the director of law and assistant director of law to review and consider amendments that could be recommended that could provide additional flexibility.
Titterington said if organizations such as Troy Main Street wanted to host a food truck rally, the organization could petition the restaurants as a whole group rather than individually.
If a food truck rally was co-sponsored by the city, the proposed ordinance would then become an exception and would “come into play” Titterington said.
“There would be some limits on it only because we only have so much infrastructure to support that between water and electricity and any other amenities that may be needed,” Titterington said.
For more information, visit www.troyohio.gov.
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