The Amherst County Planning Commission during its June 24 meeting discussed a potential ordinance regulating food trucks.
“Food trucks are becoming increasingly popular and can already be seen throughout the county,” said Tyler Creasy, assistant zoning administrator and county planner.
A few stationary food trucks in Madison Heights, the Sweet Spot and Boomers BBQ, would be grandfathered in if a new ordinance passes, said Jeremy Bryant, director of community development. The ordinance would not apply to food trucks at events such as weddings and the Amherst County Fair, according to Jeremy Bryant, the county's director of community development.
“We don’t look at that as an established use of land,” Bryant said.
Food trucks would be defined as a street vending unit that is self-contained, readily movable and registered with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, according to county documents. They would be allowed as permitted uses in the B-2, general commercial, and M-1, industrial, zoning districts only, according to the county.
Bryant said a challenge for the county is if food trucks come in and stay in perpetuity without zoning regulations in place. “Who is going to enforce or look after all these rogue food trucks?” Commisisoner Leslie Gamble asked Bryant. “Are we inundated with food trucks?”
“It’s to some extent an easy way to get around some regulations,” Bryant said of food truck operations operating outside of zoning. “We’re not necessarily saying it’s a big problem. If a food truck comes in, they would stay for quite some time. The question we’re asking you ‘is that OK?’”
Creasy said the planning department is looking at other ordinances in the counties of Bedford, Campbell and Albemarle. Commissioner Michael Martineau said he has noticed several food trucks appear to be successfully operating on U.S. 221 in Forest and would like to know more about how other localities regulate such uses.
Bryant said more information will be brought back for later discussion.