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City to review mobile food vendor ordinance

WEST POINT — The number of restaurants in West Point has risen in recent years and is on track to increase even further in the future, but a potential new ordinance by the city could see the number of available eateries skyrocket.

Specifically, the city is working on a new ordinance that will allow mobile food vendors, also known as food trucks, to have greater latitude to conduct business within city limits

The issue was initially brought up at the April 24 city council meeting. City Manager Ed Moon presented the board with a list of 17 items to consider concerning food trucks.

“There has been some interest,” Moon said, noting a current ordinance concerning peddling is what stands in the way. “It [the ordinance] has done a good job.”

The city manager added that if the new ordinance is passed, ice cream/snow cone trucks would most likely be the first to take advantage of it. This sentiment was shared by West Point Mayor Steve Tramell.

Moon noted there has been some interest expressed at bringing in food trucks to Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia and its suppliers.

“We’ve had some requests to go there,” he said.

The current ordinance allows peddlers a three-day permit to sell their wares, but does not allow for food except at special events.

“It’s very restrictive, but helpful,” Moon said.

The new ordinance would allow trucks, once they received approval, to set up in most areas of the city.

The main restrictions would be:

No setting up within 350 feet of any brick and mortar restaurant.

Restricted to industrial and commercial property only.

Permission required to set up on any private property.

Hours of operation set from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., except for special events; ice cream/snow cone trucks are 9 a.m. until half-an-hour before sunset.

Must move from the site at the end of each day.

No alcohol sales.

No nonfood or drink merchandise, except for personal logoed items.

One sandwich board sign allowed.

No loud noise devices.

Moon added that initially there was a requirement for each truck to be inspected by the Fire Chief, but that was removed. Vehicles would instead be expected to follow state laws already in place.

“Hopefully it [the ordinance] will be ready for the next session,” he said.

If passed, there is some question about how many groups would take advantage of it.

Mayor Tramell said he did not expect many food trucks, not counting ice cream trucks, to come forward seeking permission.

“It will certainly be interesting to see how it plays out,” he said.

The next meeting of the city council is set for Tuesday, May 29 at 5:30 p.m.