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Murfreesboro approves mobile vending ordinance

MURFREESBORO – After discussing the matter of food trucks off and on for more than a year, the Murfreesboro Town Council has approved a new ordinance to regulate these mobile vendors within town.

The ordinance was approved at their regular meeting on Sept. 8 following a brief public hearing. No citizens in attendance choose to speak for or against the proposed ordinance.

The most notable part of the ordinance is the inclusion of a Mobile Food Vendor Application that vendors will have to fill out and submit to the town. The application also requires a $100 fee which shall be paid once per calendar year.

The ordinance lists several regulations that must be followed, including carrying a North Carolina Department of Health food handler and other health safety licenses, carrying a valid Town of Murfreesboro permit, providing a list of items to be sold, being subject to a compliance check by the town’s Code Enforcement Office, picking up any trash generated by the operation, displaying in plain view all permits and licenses, and more.

Mobile vendors are permitted in the C-2 zoning district (which is anything zoned Highway Commercial outside of the main business district) under the following conditions: not within 300 feet of any school, religious institution, or cemetery; must be parked legally; not stopped in congested areas where it may create a traffic hazard; no door-to-door solicitation; not storing, parking, or leaving any vending unit overnight on public property; and having a certificate of insurance.

Vendors are allowed to operate anytime between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., except where specified by special events and limited to two days a week per calendar year.

The ordinance also contains a section about appearance, requiring that the vending unit must be in good condition. Advertising (name and logo) and a list of items for sale may be displayed on the vending unit or within 10 feet of the truck. And the vendor may appeal the decision to revoke or deny a permit based on appearance, but it must be filed within 30 days.

Though the council did not discuss the details of the proposed ordinance at this meeting, they have previously talked about regulations and requirements at prior meetings. Much of those discussions centered on the question of where food trucks would be allowed to operate within town. All were in agreement that it would be better if the vendors operated outside of the main downtown business district so that they do not compete with local restaurants.

Council member David Brown motioned to approve the mobile vending ordinance, to take effect on Oct. 1, and Jay Revelle seconded. The vote was unanimously in favor.