Food trucks can now legally operate in Alabaster

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Food trucks can now receive business licenses to operate in Alabaster city limits after the City Council approved an ordinance to allow the process to move forward during its Nov. 28 meeting.

Council members voted unanimously during the meeting to add provisions to the city’s business license ordinance allowing multiple types of “mobile food units” to obtain licenses to operate in the city. The provision allows licenses for four types of food truck vendors in the city:

-Meal stops: No more than two hours each day, and the food truck must be located on private property off public rights of way unless the vendor has prior written approval from the city to operate on public property. Meal stop food trucks would not be allowed to operate within 200 feet of a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

-Traveling food vendors: May operate on the roads throughout the city, but are not allowed to stop to service customers for more than 10 minutes. Traveling food vendors would not be allowed to stop on the right-of-way on U.S. 31, Alabama 119 or Thompson Road. Sound coming from the trucks would not be allowed to exceed 65 decibels.

-Event food vendors: Must operate on property owned or solely controlled by the sponsor of an event, and with the written permission of the event sponsor. Food trucks may only operate from a fixed location during the official hours of the event.

-Park food vendors: May operate in city parks only during the park’s official hours, and only during times the park’s concession stand is not open unless they have written permission from the concession stand operators.

Food trucks wishing to apply for business license must complete an application and pay a $50 fee. After acquiring a business license and selling food in the city, food trucks must pay sales tax based on what they sold.

“There has been careful consideration over the last several months to make sure we didn’t negatively impact businesses that have brick-and-mortar type stores in the city,” said Ward 5 Councilman Russell Bedsole. “There were careful considerations to be fair to both sides.”