City drafts rules for food trucks

Zach Sullivan, Reporter

Following a unanimous decision by the Bakersfield City Council, the city will enact chapter 5.66 of the Bakersfield municipal code, which deals directly with food trucks. The ordinance details the city’s rules regarding the definition of food trucks, application approval, denial, revocation, general food vending vehicle requirements, food vending vehicle requirements in the public right-of-way, food vending vehicle requirements on private property and appeal of a permit denial or revocation.

As stated by the administrative report found on the Bakersfield City Council’s website, the ordinance was brought about by the Community Services Committee to discuss issues regarding food trucks.

“On April 7, 2016, the Community Services Committee discussed the issues surrounding mobile food vending vehicles.

“At the request of the Committee, the City Attorney was asked to work with appropriate city departments and draft a food vending vehicle ordinance based on best practices, while keeping in mind the proximity to brick and mortar businesses and vendor hours of operations.

“On Aug. 4, 2016, the City Attorney presented a draft ordinance and PowerPoint to the Community Services Committee.

“The Committee members made several suggested changes to the draft ordinance, listened to concerns and questions from the public and voiced their opinions relative to what they each believed should be the hours of operation and the distance requirements from brick and mortar businesses.

“The Committee did not come to a unanimous decision on how such regulations should read and directed the City Attorney’s office to refer the proposed ordinance to a workshop.

“On Aug. 17, the proposed ordinance was reviewed at a workshop by City Council and it was determined that the distance from brick and mortar businesses would be 75 feet and that the hours of operation would be between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. from Monday through Saturday and between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Sunday, except in the Commercial Center Zone and the Central Business Zone, where hours of operation would be between 6 a.m. and 1 a.m. from Monday through Sunday.

“Council also agreed to staff’s recommendation for tables and chairs, which is to allow three tables and a maximum of 12 chairs on private property.”

The first hearing for the proposed ordinance was Sept. 7. It was unanimously approved Sept. 28, and went into effect Oct. 28.

Each food truck is required to maintain a valid Food Vending Vehicle permit from the City of Bakersfield, maintain a valid business tax certificate from the City of Bakersfield, and maintain a valid permit from the County of Kern through its Public Health Services Department, according to section 5.66.020.Food trucks can operate in certain zones designated by the ordinance and must park 75 feet away from a primary frontage for patrons of a restaurant and at least 200 feet away from certain zone districts.

Food Vending Vehicles must park at least 300 feet away from the exterior boundary of property used and occupied by any public playground or park maintained and operated by the city or other public corporation.

Food trucks cannot serve alcohol, cannot have amplified sound of loud speakers and must have a city code enforcement sticker with a number to call and report violations.