A decree inspired by the regulations of Lee County and Bonita Spring finally aims to regulate and set standards for food trucks in Cape Coral.
The city will establish minimum standards for both stationary and mobile food trucks and provide consequences for violations.
At the first public hearing on the decree on January 11, some members of the public opposed these changes.
“Why make it harder to start a business, let’s not add more barriers,” said Gabriel Denny, who strongly opposes the transportation of food trucks every day.
Another resident, Cathy Stout, worries about chasing food peddlers.
“If you make such a strict ordinance, you’re not only chasing small business owners, you’re also firing your community,” he said.
At the same meeting, Councilor Robert Welsh said he supported the resolution because food trucks are mobile only in name and should operate as such.
“I think we have some bad actors in the city that make permanent what needs to be portable,” Welsh said.
The changes are necessary to comply with 2020 state law, which avoids most local regulations regarding food trucks and stops municipalities from banning them.
The city had previously tried to prepare zoning regulations for food trucks in 2013 and 2015.
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Food trucks and mobile food vendors have never been specifically addressed in land use and development regulations.
The community development department ensures that mobile food vendors have a city business tax receipt, but they do not issue a zoning compliance certificate.
The proposed regulation will amend land use and development regulation to follow Florida law. The city would set minimum standards for food trucks and their surroundings.
Food Trucks will need to leave the vending areas every night, will not be allowed to have tents, tarps and seating, and will prohibit public service connections.
Those who want to sit will have to have mobile dining areas, which will require on-site parking, bathrooms, a site plan and a “vending area” with electrical connections.
Sellers violating these codes may be warned or punished by the police.
They will also be banned from entering most residential areas, except in public parks and recreational facilities, city parking lots, or government-owned or leased facilities.
Freezing vehicles will still be allowed to operate within any street right of way or right-of-way easement.
Vehicles operating less than one day in a special event, a special event and a declared state of emergency are exempt.
If the regulation is adopted, it will enter into force 90 days after it has been adopted to allow communication and access to food vendors who need to comply.
The second and final hearing, where the parliament will vote on the decree, is on Wednesday at 16:30 in the parliamentary halls.
Luis Zambrano is a Watchdog/Cape Coral correspondent for The News-Press and the Naples Daily News. You can reach Luis at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Lz2official.