The Orange County Board of Commissioners approved new rules Tuesday to clarify where and how food trucks can operate outside town limits.
The rules also would apply on county property inside the town limits, County Attorney John Roberts said, such as the Orange County Courthouse parking lot in Hillsborough. County zoning appears to limit other places where food trucks could operate mostly to farms and commercial property along roads and highways.
Existing rules did not address the issue, Roberts said, but court rulings allow property owners to do anything the county doesn’t specifically prohibit.
Hillsborough, Carrboro and Chapel Hill already have rules for where food trucks can operate and the required permits, licenses and fees. Additional state rules govern how food trucks must be set up to serve the public.
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The county would not issue its own food truck permits. The rules, in part:
▪ Ban food trucks from undeveloped and residential land, except for food trucks serving private events on residential land
▪ Prohibit smoking inside or within 100 feet of a food truck
▪ Require the vendor to visibly post food grade cards and food truck and health department permits and to get commercial general liability insurance coverage
▪ Require food trucks to park at least 10 feet from other food trucks, 30 feet from fire hydrants and fire lanes, and not block vehicle or pedestrian traffic
▪ Vendors must ensure adequate parking and limit their hours to between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. if parked near homes or apartments.
It’s unclear why food trucks on residential or undeveloped property would be a problem, Hillsborough resident Ashley DeSena said. She also questioned why there was no public discussion of the proposed rules.
“I know living in Hillsborough, I’ve seen when they were discussing food trucks, lots of Planning Board and Town Board meetings about that where the public had the opportunity to express their opinions,” she said.
The commissioners have talked about food truck rules before, Commissioners Chairman Earl McKee said, and decided to take that route because of the timing and the plan to add the rules to the county’s general ordinance, not its land-use rules.