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Woodstock to allow mobile food vendors

By Alex Bridges

WOODSTOCK -- The town may soon open its streets to food trucks and similar vendors.

Town Council on Tuesday adopted on its first reading proposed changes in the code pertaining to mobile food vendors. Under the new rules, the town manager can issue permits for mobile food vending to someone seeking to put a unit on a public street or sidewalk. Town Council needs to adopt the ordinance on a second reading for the rules to take effect.

Town Manager Reid Wodicka said Woodstock currently does not allow mobile food vendors to operate on public streets.

"Basically what we're doing is opening up the possibility of mobile food vendors," Wodicka said. "It could be anywhere in town. It just has to be permitted through this office."

Mayor Jeremy McCleary noted at the meeting that council's Ordinance Committee had discussed the regulations at length.

"It's a smart, proactive measure," McCleary said. "I appreciate staff's forethought in this."

The new code section identifies mobile food unit as a mobile truck, chuck wagon, food trailer, food cart or pushcart. The code doesn't imply automobiles, trucks or vans not designed for food preparation.

A vendor must renew the permit annually on the same due date as business licenses. Applications must include a vending site plan, the width of the sidewalk or parking space needed, the dimensions and a photograph of the unit, a diagram of any signs for the operation, a certificate of insurance and a copy of the permit issued by the Health Department.

Any vendor must abide by the town's requirements pertaining to business licenses, meals tax and other fees and taxes. A vendor must pay a fee with the permit application.

Specific requirements of vendors calls for the unit to be located no closer than 100 feet from a public entrance to an established eatery. Where vending occurs on a sidewalk, at least 36 inches must remain unobstructed. The business conducted at the vendor also must not obstruct vehicles and pedestrians.

Transactions must be limited to pedestrians. The vendor must abide by town parking regulations.

The vendor must provide an approved trash receptacle at the unit. Publicly owned receptacles are not acceptable.

The code prohibits vendors from using radios or other sound-amplifying devices and flashing signs at the unit amd prohibits vendors from discharging any pollutants from their unit, including waste, grease, liquid, "gray water," or debris.

"Signage and appearance of the mobile food vending unit shall be appropriate for the neighborhood in which it is operating," the code section states.

Also at the meeting, council adopted on second readings amended ordinances pertaining to junkyards, solicitors, public right-of-way and taxation. McClearly said the adoption of the ordinances comes amid the town's work on the entire code chapter by chapter. The mayor called the project an ambitious effort.

Town Council holds two readings on ordinance changes. The town does not hold public hearings on proposed changes to ordinances.

Wodicka said Wednesday only three chapters of the code remain to be changed and adopted. The town's zoning ordinance is not part of the current work. He said the town may begin to look at the zoning regulations when officials start to look at the comprehensive plan.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com

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