Monticello council amends ordinance to allow food truck operators in city

Monticello council members have unanimously approved an ordinance amendment that will allow and regulate food truck vendors operating within city limits.

The new ordinance establishes requirements for mobile food unit owners and operators to ensure that their operation does not endanger the health, welfare, or safety of patrons, and to address potential concerns with respect to operation of the mobile food units, City Clerk Jennifer Schreiber and Community Development Director Angela Schumann stated in a background memo.

Currently, the Minnesota Department of Health licenses mobile food units operating in Minnesota.

The approved city licensing process is intended to compliment this by addressing where, when, and for how long a mobile food unit can operate in the city, Schreiber and Schumann explained.

A draft ordinance was prepared by city staff and reviewed by City Attorney Joel Jamnik. Food truck operators must obtain a temporary license, allowing them to operate within the city no more than seven days in any calendar year, or an annual license which allows the food truck to operating an unlimited number of days during a calendar year.

Operators need to meet a provision that ensures their units are truly mobile and do not take up residence in a single location.

Owners must meet insurance and fire safety requirements and provide an official record of the owner of each mobile food unit operating in town and contact information for that person.

Mobile food trucks may only operate on private residential property when performing catering services, and mobile food sales are prohibited between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Provisions are included for the suspension and revocation of licenses.

The complete ordinance includes a number of additional provisions related to operation of food trucks. Minor amendments to the city zoning ordinance’s temporary uses section will be proposed in June.

During the council’s May 8 meeting, Councilmember Jim Davidson asked that the food truck ordinance amendment be pulled from the consent agenda for discussion.

“I like the definition of 10 p.m. for the hours, but I also like the possiblity of flexibility. I think we need to say 10 p.m. with variance of availablity, and flexibility with the noise ordinance,” Davidson said.

Other city leaders concurred with a motion made by Davidson to that effect to amend a section of the ordinance, adding verbiage that would allow an hours of operation end time based on the city’s noise ordinance.

Councilmember Bill Fair seconded Davidson’s motion, and the ordinance amendment was unanimously approved by the council.

Contact Tim Hennagir at [email protected]