City of Monroe updates food truck and mobile retail rules, permit process

The City of Monroe has passed an ordinance that they hope will entice more mobile food vendors to show up at local events. On Monday, Monroe City Council unanimously approved a new mobile retail ordinance that creates Chapter 436 of the City Code, Mobile Retail, and repeals the following chapters in the City Code: 360 - Food Trucks/Mobile Food Vending Units; Chapter 374 - Hawkers, Peddlers, and Transient Merchants; and Chapter 396 - Ice Cream Sales Vehicles. [embedded content]

The repealed ordinances were consolidated into one in an effort to make it simpler for mobile food vendors to apply for participation in local special events. The new ordinance - which can be found on the city's website - stipulates that all mobile vendors will now be charged the same £50 permit application fee for the entire season, addressing a primary concern of city administration's regarding different application fees depending on the classification of the operation. Under the new ordinance, food trucks are allowed on private property so long as the vendor does not create a vehicle or pedestrian obstruction.

They can also be at any and all special events on city property, such as parks or streets, with the event organizer charged with listing all the food truck vendors in their event application to the city in order for city staff to ensure that all the vendors have been approved for the season. The city will also need to be named as an additional insured by the event organizer, specifically in relation to food truck operations, and a site plan review is required to ensure the location of the food truck(s) does not create a vehicle, parking or pedestrian problem, and to provide notification to fire operations for inspections. Pop-up vendors are required to notify the city clerk and public safety department with date, time and location before setting up.

Clerk/Treasurer Michelle LaVoy previously said that this new ordinance "will help (the city) not only license, but administer more efficiently, and probably in more of a fair manner."

"Right now we have people showing up at the same event, but depending on what they're licensed under there may be an uneven playing field in some cases, either with fees or what they're required to provide us, etc." she said. "This will bring it all together, and hopefully not just make it easier in my department, but other departments in it will just be one ordinance we have to look at."