With unanimous approval, city commissioners gave the final vote to allow food trucks within Williston.
Ordinances 1083 and 1084 were both approved at Tuesday's meeting, meaning that mobile food vendors can begin the application process to begin operation in and around Williston. Prior to the approval of these ordinances, food trucks were only permitted to operate at city, CVB or county fair sponsored events.
The change in the ordinances will give vendors the opportunity to operate outside of those designated events, bringing more food options to city residents. While the road has been paved for food trucks to begin operation, there are still protocols they will need to follow before sales can begin.
"They do need to go in and apply for a permit," said Rachel Laqua, principal planner for Williston. "They'll need to pay the permit fee, and if they are operating on private property, they will need to get approval from the property owners. If they are planning on operating on a street, then they need to be within the approved areas."
Laqua said the first step for any potential vendor is applying for a permit, which she said can be done by contacting the planning and zoning department or the City Auditor. Vendors will also be required to obtain a permit from the Department of Health to insure that all food trucks meet health and safety requirements.
There has been a lot of discussion regarding the allowance of food trucks, and Laqua said they had received positive feedback on the topic at a public forum held in June, with residents looking for more food options in the city.
"We've been hearing from a lot of people that they wanted to see food trucks, that they felt it was something that would add to the quality of life in the community," Laqua explained. "And that also it was a good way to start businesses, and become a business incubator and so we're hoping to see people enjoy them."
Jer Bears Sno Shack opened up for business in May, with Band Day being their first event. Jerys Enget owns the shaved ice truck with his wife, Tami, and has been attending various events throughout Williston. Enget says she’s been excited with their new business, and has received a lot praise for the endeavor. The passing of these ordinances will help gain more exposure for the family-owned operation.
“We try to go to as many places as we can,” she explained. “And so far people have loved it. It’s a lot of fun, and we look forward to doing it more.”
Laqua said that the hope was for the ordinances to be passed so that potential vendors would have the opportunity to begin operation before the summer ended.
She added that some vendors that had been previously allowed to operate at sponsored events may now be able to operate sooner than others, as most of those have already gone through the permit process. There is no limit on the number of food trucks allowed to operate, but Laqua said any issues or concerns would be addressed as operations begin and the city assesses any impact on the community.