Cary considers food trucks

aspecht@newsobserver.comNovember 21, 2013 

Cary is considering rules to regulate food trucks.


— Diners in this town might soon have a new option: food trucks.

Cary currently doesn’t have rules that specifically address food trucks, so the vehicles are not allowed to set up in town.

But due to the growing popularity of the trucks, town staff have drawn up some rule recommendations and Thursday sought direction from the Town Council.

“We’re trying to go with a minimalist ordinance that will not require a great deal of time to administer or enforce,” said Councilwoman Gale Adcock, who serves on the committee that crafted the recommendations.

Council members said they agreed with most of the staff’s rule concepts, starting with the recommendation to prohibit food trucks on public property, unless they’re invited as part of a town-sponsored event.

“If they pull over on the side of the road and park there in the public right of way, they could cause a traffic jam,” Adcock said.

Raleigh prohibits food trucks on public property; but in areas where Raleigh and some other towns crack down, Cary seems – for now, at least – like it may be more lenient.

For instance, the recommendations are not intended to limit the total number of food trucks in a given area, as Asheville does. Nor do they recommend including a required setback between food trucks and brick-and-mortar restaurants, as Raleigh does.

But the Town Council may change that.

“I would like some separation requirement in the ordinance,” said Councilman Don Frantz, who helped craft the recommendations with Adcock.

“How far (should food trucks be set back)? That’s something for staff to look at and us to talk about,” he said.

Cary also has less-consequential rules to consider.

Town staff recommended allowing food trucks to set up white boards and chalk boards, which are commonly called sandwich boards. But Adcock and Frantz said they disagreed with that recommendation.

The council also seemed split on whether to allow food trucks to set up tables and chairs outside the trucks.

“To me, it’s a food truck, not a food restaurant,” Frantz said.

Councilman Ed Yerha said he didn’t see a problem with allowing tables and chairs as long as “they’re not gonna be in the same place for a long time.”

It could be months before food-truck rules are in place.

After hearing from the council, town staff and resident board members need to draft and tweak the rules.

The Town Council will then hold a public hearing and take those comments into consideration before voting on a proposed ordinance.

Specht: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @AndySpecht

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