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Food trucks in city don’t need local permits |

Food trucks in city don’t need local permits

City Council is spelling out those rules in a new ordinance, and they seem pretty easy to follow.

The city is requiring no permits or fees, but food vending businesses must have a valid state license.

Under the proposed regulations, food trucks must stay at least 500 feet away from schools between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., and 150 feet away from the principal customer entrance to any restaurant. Trucks also must stay at least 500 feet away from any vendor event that is organized, sponsored or sanctioned by the city, unless the truck is a vendor at the event.

No trucks may vend in a park or on city property. No tables, chairs, standing counters or similar pieces are allowed on public property or within the public right-of-way. Dinnerware and serving containers must be break-resistant. A waste bin and a recycle bin must be provided.

No mobile food vendor, including ice cream vendors, may sit and run flashing lights or music or make other, similar noises.

Trucks may park in residential zones, but only up to two hours. Trucks may be on private property with the owner’s permission, but unattended trucks can’t have food in them.

Vending must stop between 2:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m.

The fine for violating the rules is at least $250 and no more than $1,000.

City Council may suspend the rules for up to 10 days.

And, council approved the regulations at its meeting Monday evening. The regulations will come back to council for a second vote, as required, before they become official.

Council also addressed transient retail businesses, or peddlers. Such a business must pay a fee for a license from the chief of police. Farmers selling their own produce don’t have to pay the fee, but they must get a license. Also in the no-fee category are children under 18, including newspaper carriers and Girl Scouts, insurance agents or brokers, and anyone soliciting for charity.

This would all remain the same, but a phrase would be added to the section about penalties, saying the fine must be at least $50. The maximum fine would stay at $500.

The change also requires a second council vote.

Council Vice President Stephen L. Stevenson objected that the ordinance uses “he” and “his” instead of gender-neutral wording.

On another ordinance matter, council voted unanimously to change the city’s regulations on signs. However, some members’ “yes” votes seemed reluctant, and Councilman Richard L. Conklin suggested the second vote on the matter might not be unanimous.

The proposed changes reflect a state Supreme Court opinion that the rules must be applied across the board, regardless of the content of the sign. “Vote for (my candidate)” lawn signs, then, would be restricted just as a business sign would.

This means people living in residential zones could display only two such signs, unless they are on a corner property. Then they could have three.

On the other side of the coin, election signs could remain in a yard all year long.

During a public hearing on the topic, Bill Mincer, a citizen who regularly attends meetings, said it isn’t right to dictate how many “Vote for…” signs he puts up in his own yard in election season.

Conklin joked that he should tape them together, and as long as they are less than 20 square feet, they would be legal.

Projectors that throw Christmas decorations against the side of a house also must be 20 square feet under these proposed regulations, he said.

A sign for a business that isn’t on the same property would still require a special exception, said Code and Zoning Officer Cyndi Walker in response to a question from Richard Morris, another citizen who attends council meetings.

Both the county and the city planning commissions have reviewed the proposed changes and the city planning board has recommended them, council heard.

The changes are a proactive approach, Walker said, and would create an ordinance that could be defended if challenged.

After voting for the changes, Conklin said, “I will probably be the first person to challenge the enforcement.”

Two minor ordinance changes also received the first vote.

Parking lots in the central business district are to be changed from a conditional use to a use that is always permitted.

And, truck stops and travel plazas would be listed as a permitted use in industrial districts — and they would have a set of rules including regulations about parking.


Councilman Douglas T. Byerly asked how work is coming at the city’s Second Avenue garage, and City Manager Gregory J. Wilson replied that the underground tanks have to be removed. One is filled with water, and the other two are much larger than the city would need. Using a too-large tank can lead to problems with algae in the system.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has given the city a one-year extension on dealing with the tanks, Wilson said.

Two other projects for the garage are in this year’s budget: building road salt storage areas, and installing a mobile lift for vehicles. The building does not have one, Wilson reported.

Meanwhile, city road equipment is being moved up to the new garage site, he said.

Councilman Joel Long asked for the target date for moving the public works department up to Second Avenue. Wilson said he would come back to council with a potential date.

The city also plans to sell 13 vehicles and accessories, with bids due April 6. A date will be set for potential bidders to view the equipment at the new garage, Wilson said. The date will be advertised in The Express and on



The city has received a grant of $1,500 from the Wal-Mart Foundation to replace a broken defibrillator. City Hall currently does not have a working defibrillator on the premises, but there are units in police vehicles.

The city also will go for a $15,000 recycling grant from DEP, which would require $1,500 in matching funds. The money would be used for door hangars and other methods of encouraging businesses and the general public to recycle, City Planner Maria Boileau said.

Stevenson said the Clinton County Solid Waste Authority should be asked to help with the local match. The authority said it would save money when it stopped recycling glass and would use that money for education, he noted.

Council also approved applying for two Clinton County Tourism/Recreation grants — for $3,500 for the summer concert series and $3,000 for signage at the proposed boat dock.

The Clinton County Women’s Center was given permission to light luminaires in Triangle Park from 7 to 9 p.m. April 26, in support of the #MeToo movement.

The spring cleanup dates are Mondays and Tuesdays, April 16, 17, 23, and 24. Bags weighing 50 pounds or less of leaves and garden waste may be placed along the curb or sidewalk by 7 a.m. on those days and city workers will pick them up.

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