Hollister City Council Approves Allowing More Mobile Food Trucks

Hollister City Council agrees to amend city ordinance to create more mobile food truck opportunities

According to a unanimous decision by Hollister city leaders on June 5, mobile food vendors who have asked local government to allow them to set up their trucks across the city can do so after July 20, when the amended ordinance goes into effect .

Councilor Dolores Morales was absent.

The revised regulation addresses the terminology associated with the lorries and the zoning areas in which they are registered. At the suggestion of Councilor Tim Burns, short-term permits will be increased from one hour to one hour and 59 minutes. The Council returns for a second reading on June 20th and then enters into force on July 20th. Mobile food trucks are all motorized vehicles that are primarily intended for serving food.

Vendors must obtain approval from the Planning Department at $156.95 per year.

Joseph Elmhorst wondered if he would need a separate business license for each of the three mobile food trucks he plans to set up around town. He was told that he had to have a driver’s license for every truck. He told the council it didn’t matter as he would be at the planning office by the morning of July 20 to pay for three of them.

During a May 22 town hall meeting, Christine Hopper, director of Hollister Development Services, outlined revised regulations that would allow food trucks to circulate almost anywhere in the city, subject to a new three-tier permitting system.

“The City of Hollister has seen an influx of wireless service providers looking to operate within the city,” Hopper told City Council June 5. “Our existing code is very outdated. It severely limits the zones in which operations can take place and the timeframes in which mobile grocery sales can take place.”

As an example, she said under the current regulation, a cellphone operator can only stop in the public right-of-way to serve a customer for a 10-minute period and severely limits what cellphone operators are allowed to do.

“The applicability of locations for the new ordinance is citywide,” she said. “Permitting agencies are trying to reach out to all locations within the city and apply new rules and regulations.”

According to Hopper, there will be three types of permits issued by the planning department:

Short term operations within the public right of way covering all zones. Before its passage, an amendment changed the one-hour limit that mobile food trucks are allowed to run between 8am and 6pm to one hour and 59 minutes. After two hours, toilets would have to be made available. In addition, they are not allowed to park in front of a private house. You will keep a distance of 50 feet from a single family home, measured from the property line to the food truck. They are prohibited from driving on Fourth Street between Westside Blvd. to park. and Monterey Street as the streets are very busy. You must either move to another location with the same requirements, or you can return to the first location after four hours have passed. In the commercial, industrial and manufacturing areas of the North Gateway (airport area), long-term operation is permitted within the public right of way for four hours between 6 a.m. and midnight. Mobile food trucks can be deployed in parking lots of public parks where queuing for vehicles is not possible. Operation of developed private property is permitted in business parking lots in commercial, industrial, manufacturing and mixed-use zoning districts between 6 a.m. and midnight. The opening times of the food trucks may be the same as those of the incumbent where they are located. or the Vendors may propose an alternate operating schedule agreed upon by the Vendor and the developed private property owner or legal representative which shall not exceed the hours of 6:00 a.m. to midnight.

Neither mode of operation allows food trucks to be parked vertically. For safety reasons, you must park parallel to the curbs.

In addition to the three types of permits, Hopper said, “There are other instances within the city where mobile grocery sales can happen with a special permit for events like we’re seeing at the farmer’s market.” That’s already allowed. If someone wants to host a one-day special event, they can apply to the planning office for a temporary use permit.”

She said permanent mobile food courts are not part of the chapter of the regulation under discussion.

“A lot of people have been talking about land use change,” she said, “and thinking about where we actually want that in the city.” We definitely want to address that [that] soon.”

Peter Lago, owner of Johnny’s Bar and Grill in downtown Hollister, said that while the biggest challenge to a permanent “community food vendor park” is the lack of infrastructure, “there is an opportunity to build a cultural center that would accommodate mobile vendors .” especially if it were at the old KFC location on San Felipe Street.”

“You have a spot that can’t be built on because it’s on a fault line,” he said, “which makes it a perfect parking lot.” All it needs is electricity and a few other small services, and you already have a great place to build a community center.”

According to the agenda document, the ordinance will follow state rules and regulations for mobile grocery sales. The purpose of the amended regulation, according to the document, is “to protect the health, safety and well-being of the community by establishing rules for the operation of mobile food truck vendors on public or privately built land”.

The Chapter of the Ordinance does not enforce or regulate human-powered wheelbarrows or other non-self-propelled vehicles, including trailers. Such providers are regulated by other chapters of the city statute or by other state or local laws.

Councilor Roland Resendiz said the four-hour long-term permit was too restrictive. He wanted the food trucks to be able to go anywhere in the city with the four-hour permit. Hopper said this would eliminate the need for a one-hour permit, but it’s up to the city council to expand the four-hour permits city-wide. She said the long-term permits are primarily for underserved areas where people work but there are no food options nearby.

Councilor Rick Perez recommended passing the present resolution with only the amendment to increase the one-hour permit to one hour and 59 minutes and to revise it after six months. The application was accepted without the recommendation of Resendiz.

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