Opening a food truck business requires more than just the conventional business permits and licenses required by a city or county, from mobile food operators. In different local jurisdictions across each state, there are zoning restrictions, parking regulations and other ordinances in place that food truck operators must know before shifting locations.
If you’re planning to install your food truck on public right-of-ways, you’ll have to first obtain clearance from the local Department of Public Works, as a preliminary step to securing approval from the local Department of Public Health. Now if you plan to operate or transfer your mobile food facility on a private property, you must first complete and pass Preliminary Zoning Screening.
The specific purpose of those aspects of a mobile food vending application is to ensure the safe and efficient flow of human and vehicular traffic in the urban environment. Additionally, compliance with the related zoning and parking regulations is a must. Mainly because their general purpose is to protect the integrity and image of the surrounding neighborhood, properties and other businesses where you plan to operate your food truck business.
In most municipalities, a food truck business cannot just park anywhere because there are designated commercial and non-commercial areas. Moreover, because the nature of a food truck business is mobile, some cities or towns impose limits on mobile food vending by designating specific locations where food trucks, buses, trailers and even carts can operate.
When planning to shift locations, it’s also important to ask the local county clerk to provide you with a list of the locations where mobile food vendors are allowed to park and operate. In many urban environments, a two-hour parking restriction is enforced and may even include payment by way of parking meters.
Examples of How Zoning and Parking Regulations are Monitored and Enforced
In Bay Area cities like San Jose, Parking Compliance Officers are tasked to monitor the city streets to remove vehicles that pose as safety, health or blight concerns in the area.
Citizens may even report violators and request for their removal. In case your food truck business is found in violation of zoning and parking regulations, the compliance officers will request an accredited towing service company to remove your food truck or trailer. Since your vehicle will require the use of a heavy duty towing equipment, you will likely be charged with a higher towing fee.
Compliance with zoning and parking regulations is strictly enforced in the following locations:
- Fire hydrant locations
- School zones
- No parking zones
- Parking spaces for persons with disabilities (PWDs)
- Parking areas with parking meter or with time restrictions.
- Loading zones for passengers or freight
- Residential parking zones that require written permission
Some examples of violations that may be raised against a food truck business:
1. Obstructing the safe flow of vehicular or or foot traffic in the area.
2. Operating on a landscaped ground as food truck vending facilities are required to install their facility only on paved surfaces.
3. Playing of amplified sounds or music for whatever purpose.
4. Occupancy or obstruction of more than two parking spaces. .
Our advice is for you to have a thorough knowledge of the zoning and parking regulations of the community in which you plan to bring your food truck business. Mainly because there are lesser-known restrictions that are unique to a city or county.