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SIOUX CENTER – The proposed new ordinance would allow the city of Sioux Center to control food trucks entering the community.

The Sioux City Council, at its June 6 meeting, held its first review of the “Mobile Food and Drink Vendors” chapter to be added to the city’s zoning ordinance if approved.

“Due to the increase in mobile food vendors in our community, and in response to questions about them, the City and the Chamber have begun discussions about what the ordinance will look like and what other communities are doing,” said Sioux Center Building Officer Josh Dorhout. “Through some research and a review of other communities’ ordinances, we have come up with a food truck ordinance.

“The primary purpose of this ordinance is to protect city residents and businesses from fraud, unfair competition, and unsafe food. In addition, it will give staff the opportunity to ensure that road and pedestrian safety, garbage collection and signage are properly addressed.”

Operations subject to this rule include any person involved in the sale of food or beverages from mobile vehicles.

Dorhout noted that vendors at the Sioux Center Farmers’ Market will be exempt from the ordinance as they are regulated by Center mall staff.

Under the proposed six-page regulation, mobile phone vendors will be able to operate on private or public property with written permission from the property owner.

“If vendors wanted to be located in a city park, that would be at the discretion of the parks department,” Dorhout said.

Mobile merchants will also be required to obtain a license from the city in order to sell them, as well as hold a separate mobile merchant license for each mobile device, and apply for a license at least three business days prior to use.

As part of city licensing, each vendor must specify what food and/or beverages will be sold, as well as their location.

In terms of location, no mobile vendor may be within 100 feet of any public entrance to any street level restaurant and open for business unless permitted by the restaurant, or within 10 feet of any building or other structure. Each vendor must also be at least 50 feet away from another vendor.

Merchants also may not conduct sales in a residential area, “unless such sales are specifically permitted by the mobile service provider’s license, in which case they must be conducted only in certain areas specified in the license.”

Each vendor will be allowed to sell their goods from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm and will have to leave the place every evening.

All signs used in connection with the operation of the seller’s mobile vehicle must comply with the city’s sign ordinance.

The advance fee will be $100.

“Regular restaurants might see these places as competitors, but I also think it adds to the taste, vibrancy and choice that we have in the city,” Mayor Dave Kraling said. “It’s good to have something like this to make sure we follow the rules and safety.”

Council members voiced their support for increasing fees to $250 and allowing vendors to stay in place for up to a week instead of moving every night.

The Board plans to hold a second reading at its next board meeting on June 22, and possibly a third reading at its July 11 meeting, to seek feedback before voting on whether to pass the new regulation. If approved at the July meeting, the resolution will enter into force in mid-July.

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