Published: Oct 27, 2012 04:40 PM
Modified: Oct 27, 2012 04:35 PM
Three and a half months after raising a ruckus, City Hall has revised Durhams food-vending rules for possible approval at the Nov. 5 City Council meeting.
Street Vendor Code Revisions Proposed( bit.ly/MJN64v
) reduce the distance required between mobile vendors food trucks and sidewalk carts and brick-and-mortar restaurants, and simplify the process for getting into the business.
These are recommendations that, I think, are going to fix problems, City Manager Tom Bonfield said.
Here are the main provisions:
• Eliminate the $50 mobile-cart permit; instead, prospective vendors would pay a $10 registration fee at the City-County Planning Department;
• Institute a minimum 50-foot separation between any mobile vendor and the entrance of a restaurant, and the restaurants outdoor-seating area on public land, without written permission from the restaurant owner;
• Institute a minimum 20-foot separation between any mobile vendor and the entrance or exit of a bank or ATM;
• Eliminate a requirement that mobile vendors move at least 50 feet every 15 minutes.
The requirement for vendor to move every 15 minutes is just not user friendly or enforceable, said Planning Supervisor Grace Smith. We dont have the staff to stake out vendors.
The new rules eliminate an earlier distance requirement between food vendors and special events on city property. City authorities had already cut the required separation between food trucks and restaurants from the original 100 feet to 50, and eliminated a ban on trucks near Durham Central Park during Farmers Market hours.
Simplifying regulations that affect food trucks and carts was the idea when city administrators started reviewing them in 2011. But food-truck fans and operators got alarmed when the city published its first draft of simplified rules last summer, warning that they could endanger the hip ambiance the trucks had helped create in Durham.
A July public meeting on the rules drew a crowd so large we had to have a fire marshal come in and people had to stand outside, Smith said. Subsequently, city administrators met several more times with restaurateurs, mobile vendors, property owners, nonprofit groups and each other to make adjustments.
We said ... well come back and well have something ready for (City) Council in the fall, so here we are, Smith said.
Street Vendors is the second ordinance revision affecting Durhams wining-dining trade to come to the council this month. An Outdoor Dining ordinance, legalizing alcohol sales in sidewalk-seating areas among other provisions, won approval Oct. 15.
On both issues, Bonfield said, The planning staff has done a tremendous engagement with the community in working with I wont say difficult, necessarily, but some highly engaged and passionate folks.