Food Trucks Could Roll Into Roswell, GA

By Joan Durbin | NeighborNewspapers.com
Riding the wave of a national trend, Roswell city council members on Monday gave the green light to staff to start the process of amending city code to allow mobile food vendors to operate in the city.

Criteria for legal operation would include obtaining a license from the city and carrying a $1 million liability insurance policy.

The food truck operator would have to comply with all county health department laws and maintain any necessary state licenses. Trucks could not sell between sunset and 6:30 a.m.

The trucks could set up for business only on private property in commercial zoning districts with the written consent of the owner and would have to be further than 200 feet away from the nearest restaurant or food service business unless that business is agreeable to the truck’s closer proximity.

One proposed qualification for licensing was knocked out in council discussion when the mayor and Councilman Jerry Orlans questioned a condition for fingerprinting food truck owners and employees. That is not something the city requires of restaurants, said Mayor Jere Wood.

“If you can operate a restaurant without having to be fingerprinted, why if a food truck more suspicious than a restaurant?” he said. “I’m not sure what would happen if we fingerprinted at all the fast food restaurants in our city. It would be an interesting exercise.”

Some council members wondered if allowing food trucks would be unfair to restaurants who have invested a lot of money in their locations.

“I’m all for mobile food vendors. I think they’re a good thing,” said Councilman Kent Igleheart. “My concern is what happens if we let someone drive up near a restau-rant which is then competing with someone who has put in less investment.”

Orlans noted there were “good things and bad things” about permitting food trucks. “A positive is it’s giving competition, but a negative thing is you don’t want to take away from other businesses.”

Wood said he believes in competition and as a property owner in a commercial area he thinks leasing to a mobile food vendor is “appropriate commerce.”

Councilwoman Nancy Diamond said she has yet to hear strong objection to the possibility of licensed food trucks in Roswell.

“The initial feedback I’m getting from merchants is cautiously positive,” she said. “There will be opportunity for more feedback as we go along.”

City staff will tweak the pro-posed ordinance’s language to reflect council comments and take it back to the community develop-ment committee for vetting. Dia-mond said she hopes to be able to bring it up for council vote within 60 days.

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