Denton, TX: Denton City Council to Revisit Food Trucks

By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe  |  Denton Record Chronicle

David Minton/DRC
Food trucks lined up on Hickory Street during 35 Denton in March.

Denton leaders will make good on a pledge to revisit the city’s new food truck ordinance during the City Council’s workshop session today.

The council passed the ordinance in November, saying at that time that it wanted to revisit the rules in six months and see whether other changes would be needed. The item was moved from a very full June agenda to today.

According to city documents, the staff is not recommending any changes to the rules, based on the city’s experience inspecting the trucks, on discussions in several interdepartmental meetings and on feedback from a community meeting and

The staff outlined one new issue that has emerged for them and deferred to the City Council another issue that continues to come up. Although separate from the city’s rules for food establishments, the staff reported that they have recently researched the city’s ability to audit sales tax records of businesses and may consider auditing food truck sales tax after the issue came up at a recent community meeting.

Some residents are concerned about the food trucks hurting the business of the city’s brick-and-mortar restaurants and have asked the city to limit the number of food truck permits it issues, too.

The staff hasn’t been able to find any other city that has such limits, according to a report to the City Council. Since Denton passed the ordinance, 12 trucks have applied for permits.

Related to operating rules, several issues continue to come up, including the requirement that food truck operators file their itinerary with the city and meet the same parking requirements as small restaurants, according to a staff memo to the City Council.

A city rule that requires food trucks be serviced daily at a commissary has proved problematic. Denton still has no commissary for the truck operators to do their cleaning, which includes draining wastewater and refilling with clean water. Food truck operators have asked that they be required to make weekly instead of daily visits to the commissary, but the staff doesn’t recommend that rule be changed, according to the memo.

The City Council convenes in a workshop at 3 p.m. today at City Hall. The rules for food trucks are the sixth item on the workshop agenda that also includes a discussion of the downtown implementation plan and the 83rd session of the Texas Legislature.