RPB Council Approves First Reading Of Ordinance Regulating Food Trucks

The Royal Palm Beach Village Council approved the preliminary reading of an ordinance Thursday, Jan. 21 that will require food truck vendors to have a business tax receipt from the village.

Village Manager Ray Liggins said the ordinance was in response to a recently approved state law stating that municipalities did not have authority to prevent food trucks from operating within their boundaries.

“They did give us some flexibility in regulating them,” Liggins said, explaining that the ordinance would require food truck vendors to show their licenses from the state, as well as require food truck vendors to obtain a business tax receipt (BTR) from the village, although a BTR is not interpreted to be a license, registration or permit.

The village is not permitted to require food truck vendors to register with the village or obtain any other license or permit from the village in order to operate within the community, other than the Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) license. The village cannot require a separate fee beyond those established by the DBPR in order to operate within the village or prohibit food trucks from operating within the village.

“Where this ordinance came from is other areas that have had problems [with food trucks] setting up on a piece of property and almost becoming a permanent fixture on that piece of property,” Liggins said, explaining that such operations can sometimes become a nuisance to nearby restaurants or food stores.

“What we did is draft an ordinance that regulates that,” he said. “As long as a food truck is on a piece of property more than 200 feet away from a restaurant, we have no problem with that. The food truck does have to have all the licenses on them to show to our code enforcement if they ask them for it.”

If two or more food trucks operate on a piece of property, it must be a special event, he added. If someone wants to have a food truck at their home, it is permitted as long as the operator has a contract with the homeowner.

“What we aren’t allowing is food trucks to set up on public rights of way without a special event permit,” Liggins said. “They still have the right to operate throughout the village, they just can’t set up shop for a long time, and they can’t sit in a park for a long time.”

Councilman Richard Valuntas made a motion to approve the ordinance, which carried 5-0.