Sunday, August 7, 2022

Food trucks could be coming to Carolina Beach, for those with restaurants already

The Planning and Zoning Board will hold a meeting Thursday to discuss loosening restrictions on food trucks.

(Port City Daily photo / COURTESY OF STREET TREATS)

CAROLINA BEACH — Visitors to Carolina Beach this summer could see some new dining options if the town approves a proposed ordinance that would allow food trucks in nonresidential zoning districts.

After several months of discussing the possibility of allowing food trucks on the island, and after local business owners voiced their own disdain for the current code, Carolina Beach’s Planning and Zoning Board is making the first steps toward loosening restrictions.

On Thursday, the board is holding a public discussion to allow residents, business owners and all interested parties to have their voices heard on the issue. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. in Town Hall.

An amendment has been proposed by town staff, and will be considered on Thursday.

According to the ordinance, “Allowing food truck businesses to operate in Carolina Beach promotes diversification of the town’s economy and employment opportunities. Food trucks support the incubation and growth of entrepreneurial/start-up businesses.”

But don’t expect a free-for-all in the town, as the amendment is currently presented, there would be several regulations for food truck operators.

Permitting

An annual permit issued by the town to any food truck operator would be required, according to the proposed amendment. Operators would also be required to have signed approval by the property owners of the land they wish to operate on, and any additional sites would require town approval before implantation.

Like a restaurant, vendors would be required to have approval from the county health department, and a county health permit would be required to be posted during the truck’s operation.

Even though the rules could potentially be loosened, don’t expect to see any food trucks from neighboring municipalities or counties; in order to operate a food truck in Carolina Beach the owner must have maintained an eating establishment in the town for at least one year prior.

There are several more proposed limitations for food trucks including parking restrictions, proximity to other restaurants, noise issues, and lighting requirements.

The proposed cost of a food truck annual permit would be $100, if the new ordinance is approved.

In order to determine the best route for Carolina Beach, town staff examined 28 communities in the south east, including North Carolina Virginia and Florida, to get an idea of best practices.

Carolina Beach town staff examined 28 different communities to see what was permitted or restricted when it comes to food trucks (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY CAROLINA BEACH)
Carolina Beach town staff examined 28 different communities to see what was permitted or restricted when it comes to food trucks (Port City Daily photo/COURTESY CAROLINA BEACH)

Of the 28 communities, eight prohibited food trucks outright, 10 prohibited them with exceptions, and 10 allowed them.

Staff also compiled a list on nine common restrictions that included:

  • Distance to a restaurant
  • Hours of operation
  • Brick and mortar required in town
  • Time period of operation
  • Renewal
  • Insurance
  • Special event situations
  • Zone restrictions
  • Limited number of uses

Out of all of the surveyed localities, Carolina Beach would be the only one to require a brick and mortar restaurant within town limits in order to operate.


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