Town lowers food truck fee

May. 13, 2013 @ 11:26 PM

The Town Council approved several changes to its food truck ordinance on Monday, one of which lowers to regulatory fee for vendors from $600 to $200.

The council made the changes in response to complaints by food truck operators who complained the cost of doing business in Chapel Hill was too high.

Since the town updated the ordinance in January 2012, it has only issued two food truck ordinances – two permits were actually issued to a single vendor, Baguettaboutit – in large part because of the hefty $600 annual fee required to operate in Chapel Hill.

In an interview after the council’s vote, Tracy Livers, who operates Olde North State BBQ, said the new fees will make Chapel Hill more accessible to food truck operators.

“The fee was a choking point for us,” Livers said.

She said Olde North State BBQ will now apply to do business in Chapel Hill as soon as the process allows. The reduced fee will go on the books in July.

Fees to operate food trucks in other Triangle cities such as Durham and Raleigh were significantly lower than the fee Chapel Hill charged.

The council also approved two amendments to the ordinance, one that would allow food trucks to perform a catering function in town and another that would allow them to participate in special events, such as food truck rodeos.

Under the amendment to allow food trucks to acts as caterers, operators can provide food for a private party or gathering, but cannot engage in sales to the general public.

The other amendment allows food trucks to participate in special events such as food rodeos. The organizer of such events would be required to pay an annual $200 specialty market fee.

Food trucks operators at such events would not be required to pay for additional food truck licensing or pay the regulatory fee, but would be required to obtain a privilege license if they did not already have one.