Wilmington City Council added mobile food unit ordinance at Tuesday's meeting
Wilmington food trucks can now roll with a little more serving room. Wilmington’s City Council voted on Tuesday to add hours of operating time in all non-residential districts of Wilmington, most importantly in Wilmington’s Central Business District (CBD).
Mobile food-truck units previously worked under a special permits license, which upheld strenuous limitations in where they could operate and for how long. Oftentimes, truck owners would find difficulty in setting up, serving, cleaning and leaving within a two-hour time frame and for only one weekend every 45 days in the same spot. Such stipulations not only kept business errant but units weren’t allowed to park within downtown’s CBD. Now food trucks have their own set of rules, which include application of an annual $25 permit, a much lower cost that has some brick-and-mortar establishments in rebuttal.
“I applaud how the restaurants and food truck owners worked together to come to a working solution for all,” Joan Loch, owner of Crescent Moon off Front Street, says. “I asked council to simply be aware that an annual permit fee of $25 per food truck owner to operate downtown 365 days per year seems uneven when compared to the signage, sidewalk table, and privilege fees that the existing businesses pay to maintain their store fronts. This new addition to temporary business in the CBD district might result in extra staff time or services and hope that they will review it in the months to come and consider a higher permit fee if needed.”
Food trucks are not allowed to park within 75 feet of any open restaurant or 25 feet from food carts less than 5 feet long. The trucks must serve on private property with permission from the property owner in any nonresidential district between the hours of 6 a.m. and 3 a.m. In the CBD they can operate five consecutive hours at any one spot, with a limit of two sites daily. Trucks cannot be located within 5 feet of fire hydrants, sidewalks, utility boxes, handicap ramps and building entrances.
James Smith of The Patty Wagon has led the march on revamping the rules for the past six months. He first addressed the issue at a city council meeting in February after operating his truck in the downtown area for a year and building up a base of loyal customers. The city told Smith he was in violation of city code, which hadn’t established a clear set of rules for food trucks. Smith decided to write a proposal to change the regulations.
“I tried a few loopholes first,” Smith told Devour’s sister magazine, encore in June. “But when those didn’t work, I just had to make this change.”
Food trucks currently operating in Wilmington include Flaming Amy’s Sacred Burrito Bus, Catch, Bollywood (of India Mahal fame), The Patty Wagon, Webo’s Down Home Cookin’, Tacos el Nene and Poor Piggy’s BBQ and Catering. Pipeline Events has planned two Truck-a-roo events over the past year—a friendly competition last fall and a rally to unify the new business operations in early summer. According to their Facebook page, another will be slated for November. Stay tuned for more details.