Cary News

May 16, 2014

Cary drafts food truck rules; public hearing set for Thursday

Food trucks could soon set up around town, but Cary leaders want to set some rules first.

Food trucks could soon set up around town, but Cary leaders want to set some rules first.

Cary doesn’t currently have food truck regulations, so the businesses are considered prohibited.

But the Town Council wants to change that. Several months ago, the council directed staff members to draw up some rules.

“There’s a segment of the population that wants food trucks,” Councilman Don Frantz said.

Town staff recently presented the council with a rough draft of food truck regulations, and a public hearing is set for 7 p.m. Thursday. Residents can can give feedback on the issue.

The proposed rules may look familiar to food truck vendors.

Mirroring rules in Raleigh and Durham, Cary staff propose requiring food trucks to set up at least 100 feet from the main entrance of a restaurant and 150 feet from homes.

Also like Raleigh, Cary wants to prohibit food trucks from operating on public property unless invited as part of a town-sponsored event.

But unlike Raleigh, Cary would put the onus on property owners – not food trucks – to obtain an annual permit for a $50 fee.

Cary’s drafted rules would also allow food trucks fewer operating hours than in Raleigh, limiting times they could set up to between 6 a.m. and midnight.

Cary staff’s initial draft called for the same operational hours as Raleigh, where food trucks are allowed to operate until 3 a.m. But council members requested a change at a recent meeting.

“Three a.m.? Really?” Councilman Ed Yerha asked. “I don’t know whether to call it too late or too early.”

Food trucks usually stay out late because there’s demand at breweries. Raleigh has several breweries, while Cary only has one – Fortnight Brewing Company – which recently opened on southwest Maynard Road.

The drafted rules “look fair to me,” said Stuart Arnold, Fortnight’s president.

Cary would allow food trucks to set up sandwich boards – something council members had previously discussed prohibiting – but they wouldn’t allow the trucks to set up temporary tables and chairs.

The town’s planning and zoning board will review the rules and take the public’s comments into consideration before putting some finishing touches on the regulations at meetings in June and July.

The planning board-approved rules are expected to go back before the Cary Town Council for a vote in August.

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