Sioux Center considers food truck ordinance

The Sioux Center City Council at its June 6 council meeting held its first review of the “Mobile Food & Beverage Vendors” chapter to be added to the city’s zoning ordinance, if approved.

SIOUX CENTER—A proposed new ordinance would allow the city of Sioux Center to oversee food trucks coming into the community.

The Sioux Center City Council at its June 6 council meeting held its first review of the “Mobile Food & Beverage Vendors” chapter to be added to the city’s zoning ordinance, if approved.

“With the increased frequency of mobile food vendors in our community and in response to questions about them, city staff and the Chamber began discussing what an ordinance would look like and what other communities are doing,” said Sioux Center’s building official Josh Dorhout. “Through some research and review of ordinances from other communities, we developed a food truck ordinance.

“The main goal of having this ordinance is protect residents and businesses of the city against fraud, unfair competition and unsafe food. In addition, it would provide staff the ability to ensure proper consideration is given to traffic and pedestrian safety, waste cleanup and signage use.”

Operations that would fall under this regulation are any persons engaged in the business of selling food or beverages from a mobile vendor vehicle.

Dorhout noted vendors at the Sioux Center Farmers Market would be exempted from this ordinance as they’re regulated by Centre Mall staff.

Under the proposed six-page ordinance, mobile vendors would be able to operate on private or public property with written permission from the property owner.

“If vendors wanted to be located within a city park, that would be at the discretion of the parks department,” Dorhout said.

Mobile vendors would also be required to obtain a license from the city for their sale as well as have a separate mobile vendor license for each mobile unit and to apply for the license at least three business days before use.

As part of the city’s licensing, each vendor must specify what food and/or beverages will be sold and their location.

Regarding locations, no mobile vendor may be within 100 feet of any public entrance of any street level restaurant and open for business, unless authorized by the restaurant, or within 10 feet of any building or other structure. Each vendor must also be at least 50 feet away from another vendor.

Vendors also may not conduct sales in a residential neighborhood “unless such sales are specifically authorized in the mobile vendor’s license and then shall only be in the specific areas stated in the license.”

Each vendor will be allowed to sell their items 7 a.m.-11 p.m. and would be required to move from the location each evening.

All signs used in connection with the operation of the mobile vendor vehicle must comply with the city signage ordinance.

The tentative fee would be $100.

“Brick and mortar restaurants could possibly see these places as competition but I also think it adds to the flavor, vibrancy and choices we have in town,” said mayor Dave Krahling. “It’s good to have something like this to make sure we have some adherence to rules and safety.”

Members of the council voiced support for increasing the fee up to $250 and allowing vendors stay at their location for up to a week, instead of being required to move each evening.

The council plans a second reading at its next council meeting June 22 and possibly a third reading at its July 11 meeting to receive feedback before voting on whether or not to pass the new ordinance. If approved at July’s meeting, the ordinance would take affect mid-July