Pelham City Council discusses food truck regulations
By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer
PELHAM – The Pelham City Council took another step toward allowing food trucks to operate in the city by reviewing changes that must be made to zoning and business license ordinances.
During a March 16 work session, the Council discussed drafts of ordinances to amend the city’s existing zoning and business license ordinances concerning the regulation of mobile food units.
“I think this is going to be where we should be right now with getting this underway,” Councilman Ron Scott said. “I do believe this is a situation that could (see) changes in the future, after we go through one year of enforcement.”
Pelham City Clerk Marsha Yates said a section of the current zoning ordinance specifies all businesses located in Pelham have to be in a permanent building, which excludes food trucks.
“If we’re going to pass an ordinance, we can’t have a contradicting ordinance,” Yates said, adding that the current business license ordinance would have to be amended, too, since it also specifies businesses have to be in permanent locations.
Pelham City Council President Rick Hayes said the changes to allow for food truck units to operate in Pelham are “minute.”
Scott said the amended ordinances would allow the city to license food trucks and to collect sales tax from such businesses.
Pelham has no laws applicable to food truck operation, and vendors must obtain a catering license and receive health department approval every time they want to operate at an event or move to a different location in the city.
Consequently, the city loses sales tax revenue from mobile food vendors that don’t register properly with the city.
“Let’s go ahead and get this moving, and let’s see what our experiences are,” Scott said.
Scott addressed Pelham Police Chief Larry Palmer, who was present at the work session, and said the city’s police officers need to know and understand the amended ordinances if they are passed.
“Chief, it’s going to be important that your folks are educated when we get this passed,” Scott said to Palmer. “We’re going to have to all be diligent about making sure we report to your department folks that need to be checked on. All of this has been for naught if we don’t go through the enforcement stage.”
The Council is still planning to have the new food truck regulations in place this spring.