Published in Breaking News

Grand Rapids to introduce first food truck ordinance July 12

BY MiBiz Staff Friday, July 08, 2016 07:45am

GRAND RAPIDS — Food trucks would be free to operate at city parks and other public areas under a new ordinance that’s expected to introduced at the Grand Rapids City Commission meeting next week.

Currently, the city lacks an ordinance to govern or manage food trucks, which can typically only do business as part of special events in public areas.

The proposed ordinance, drafted with support from Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., stemmed from public input in the GR Forward plan to expand the presence of food trucks, “help activate underutilized public spaces and make the city more vibrant.”

For the last several months, DGRI and city staff met with local restaurant owners, food truck operators and other stakeholders about the issue, and modeled the draft ordinance after best practices from around the U.S.

The proposed ordinance is expected to be introduced at the July 12 City Commission meeting. DGRI is working with a handful of community groups to hold a town hall meeting on the issue on July 20 at the LINC offices at 1422 Madison Ave. SE.

The City Commission is also expected to schedule a public hearing on the ordinance timed with its July 26 meeting.

The proposed ordinance would encourage more food trucks by streamlining the licensing process, allowing them to operating in public areas like parks and rights-of-ways, outlining inspection processes, prohibiting operation within 100 feet of a restaurant, and defining responsibilities for trash management, noise and hours.

“Food trucks provide us a proven way to expand culinary entrepreneurship, grow more small businesses and jobs, activate public spaces, increase consumer food choices and boost our already exciting local culinary scene as a whole,” DGRI President and CEO Kristopher Larson said in a statement. “This proposed ordinance aspires to advance common-sense changes that will allow our burgeoning local food truck industry to grow and thrive.”

An announcement of the proposed ordinance included supporting statements from Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and bar and restaurant owner Mark Sellers, who said food trucks are a way to enhance the local culinary scene and make it easier for low-income residents to start new businesses.

“(F)ood trucks are interesting to consumers, and bringing more of them to the city will serve as a magnet for people to come downtown and (to) other business districts,” stated Sellers, the CEO of BarFly Ventures LLC. “Anything that brings more people downtown and to the city is a good thing.”

Read 5187 times Last modified on Friday, 08 July 2016 08:12