Food truck ordinance changes discussed at next Rock Springs City Council meeting

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Jena Doak, [email protected]

October 15, 2021 — People may have noticed the influx of food trucks (transient businesses) around Rock Springs the past two years. This increase requires changes to the city ordinance concerning them.

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This is expected to be a hot topic at the Rock Springs City Council meeting next Tuesday, October 19, 2021.

Up to this point, the ordinance covering them was the peddlers/solicitors ordinance, which also covers door-to-door salespersons. Basically, the language in the ordinance will change from “transient merchants” to “mobile vendors.”

“That is a change in and of itself,” City Planner Laura Leigh said. “Stuff that was just policy before as far as how we process these will be in the ordinance itself, now.” As an administrative policy, vendors are required to fill out a business license application and supply a supplemental form requiring the property owners’ signatures for each property. These things will now be spelled out in the ordinance.

Ordinance changes will incorporate a requirement for mobile vendors to supply their County Health Department licenses with their applications. The ordinance changes could stir up quite a dispute at next Tuesday night’s public comment portion at the City Council meeting. Businesses — brick and mortar restaurants, as well as mobile vendors — will have a chance to argue.

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“There needs to be a balance between the rights of the brick and mortars and the mobile vendors,” Leigh said.

What necessitates these changes? With the influx of applicants, the City became unsure of how to procedurally handle them. The ordinance didn’t clearly address them.

In 2019, the City issued 129 business licenses, including seven (5.5 percent) mobile vendors. Thus far, in 2021, 21 (14 percent) out of 151 business licenses are for mobile vendors. This increase was trending even before COVID. Increasingly, society wants things faster, especially their food.

Tuesday will be the first reading of the ordinance. Council can discuss increasing the fees, but it’s up to them to have that discussion at the meeting. The ordinance that Leigh wrote for next Tuesday’s meeting does not discuss that change.

There will be two further readings after Tuesday. Those will occur during the meetings scheduled for November 2 and November 16. The public is encouraged to attend.

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