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Spearfish to consider mobile food, beverage vending ordinance in August

July 14, 2018

SPEARFISH — After delaying consideration of an ordinance to establish city code pertaining to mobile food and beverage vending in May, the Spearfish City Council is scheduled to consider a revised proposal in August.

The Legal, Finance, and Public Safety Committee received an update on the process Wednesday from city staff.

Assistant City Planner Desirae Mayo explained that staff recently met with 11 stakeholders who represented both mobile food vending and brick and mortar businesses that serve food. After gathering input from the stakeholders, staff drafted the current proposed ordinance and wanted to get the information to the council members in time for them to consider its details and provide feedback before formally considering it in August.

The current regulations regarding vendors falls in section 10-270 of city code, which explains that all owners of commercially-zoned private property who allow vendors to sell goods on their property are required to first obtain a $500 license that allows the property owner to let vendors set up and sell their wares on the commercially-zoned property.

This requirement would be repealed in the proposed ordinance, as it was initially intended to limit the number of outdoor temporary retail and merchandise vendors during the tourist season and Rally.

“Due to the number of different factors for when a vendor’s license should or should not be issued, staff proposes a simpler form of the ordinance as attached,” Mayo wrote in a memo to the mayor and city council dated July 11. It explains that mobile food and beverage vendors would need to apply for an annual mobile food license through the city, proposed at $250, and the application would need to be accompanied by a record of a sales tax license, which is monitored by the state; state Department of Health food licenses; and an insurance policy with the city insured.

Vendors would also be given a fire safety checklist to which to adhere, and it would be vendor’s responsibility to ensure everything is up to code, the memo states.

The current draft of Ordinance 1282 defines mobile food and beverage vending/vendors as “an activity whereby food or beverages are sold to the general public from a food truck or cart. This definition shall not include food and beverage delivery services.”

It adds that the annual license and fee would not apply during city-approved special events, when the vendor has received authorization from the event sponsor and are not operating from a city street, sidewalk, or park at any other time. The license and fee would also not apply to vendors operating on public or private property for a one-time event lasting three calendar days per year or fewer.

The ordinance lists permitted locations for mobile food and beverage vending: Private property that is zoned commercial or industrial; parked lawfully on a public street except where prohibited; and any parking lot that serves a city park and is owned by the city. On public sidewalks, only food carts would be permitted and would be required to keep a clear space of four feet in any direction from the cart.

The drafted ordinance states, “Mobile food and beverage vending is prohibited where vending activity is blocking access to a public street, alley, bike path, sidewalk, or access to an adjacent property,” and vendors “may not set up or vend from any diagonally striped parking space from Jackson Boulevard to Grant Street and Canyon Street to 7th Street” from 2 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Vendors would need to provide a trash bin for public use and remove all garbage within 25 feet of the food truck or cart, and they would not be allowed to broadcast noise that results in a nuisance to the surrounding properties. They would also not be allowed to put up additional signage beyond what is on the food truck or cart.

The licenses would be subject to revocation by the city council for the violation of any provisions of city code, state law, or city ordinance, and a procedure is laid out in the ordinance.

Mayo asked that council members provide feedback to her prior to the first reading of the ordinance, currently planned for Aug. 6, with the public hearing and second reading to follow on Aug. 20.

Committee member John Lee asked if the stakeholders present at the recent meeting were OK with the proposal as drafted, and Mayo explained that the draft came directly from the input provided at the stakeholder meeting.

City Planner Jayna Watson described that there was concern about what the mobile food vending market does to the existing food market in a community.

“What we have learned in our research is that they’re different markets. They’re not the same,” she said, describing that customers seeking food trucks are wanting a different experience than people seeking the amenities provided in a restaurant, and vice versa.

“We do not really see it as a competition at all; in fact, it’s a totally different league of food service, and it just offers choices, in staff’s opinion,” she said.

Watson added that from the meeting, staff also heard from mobile food vendors that they, too, see the need to give one another space, so the expectation is that there would not be clustering of food trucks gathering in one place. Instead, the stakeholders present voiced their desires for having separate spaces.

“I think the overall direction here is less government, less regulation, rather than more government, more regulation on this, so that’s the direction we’re heading and hope to look for your support on that,” City Administrator Mike Harmon said.

Lee thanked the staff for their efforts in putting together the ordinance, and Pam Jacobs, the other committee member present, also voiced how she liked the revision of the proposed ordinance.

“It makes a lot of sense,” she said.

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