Orange Park, FL

Orange Park Council considers regulating food trucks in residential areas

Julie Morgan

The Orange Park Town Council had its first discussion at Tuesday night’s meeting about developing an ordinance to regulate food trucks in residential areas.

The council spent more than 30 minutes on the topic during the nearly two-hour meeting.

One resident commented that the discussion was pointless.

"Why are we even having this discussion? It's so ridiculous when we have other significant problems in this town that needs to be addressed. I can't believe I'm sitting here listening to something like that. Why not just let people do it, and then if it gets out of control, then somebody complains, and then you address it that way. Let everybody do what they want at their house because we have a right to do that."

"We've had people ask to do food trucks in a residential (area)," said Mayor Randy Anderson.

The bulk of the time was spent on whether there was a need to require a permit, how many food trucks would be allowed in an area, and whether to include multi-family dwellings.

The initial language brought to council members for the ordinance included RS-1, RS-2, and RS-3 residential zoning districts only. Those are single-family residential areas. In the end, they agreed to add RG-1 and RG-2, which include smaller single-family lots, duplexes, and multi-family units.

Council members also considered language that would allow a mobile food vendor at a residence no more than twice a year without getting a permit. The food truck would also be required to park on the property and not the street. In addition, it could only be parked there between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

After 10 p.m., the truck would need to move and could not be left overnight, parked on the street or sidewalk.

"Why couldn't it be parked in a cul-de-sac for a neighborhood block event? I don't see why it would have to be up in someone's yard or driveway. It just doesn't make sense that it has to be on their property," said Councilman Alan Watt.

Town Manager Sarah Campbell said a neighborhood block party requires a special permit and allows more than one food truck, so this ordinance does not apply.

General counsel Sam Garrison told the council to think carefully about the ordinance language. "If you want to allow this in residential neighborhoods, do you want to have a requirement to be permitted or not, and is there a requirement and a limit on the number of trucks you can have in a radius?" said Garrison.

Tuesday night's meeting was only the initial discussion about food trucks in residential areas. Now that the council has given their input, the next step is to write the ordinance to include their recommendations. Eventually, the full council will vote on this topic.

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