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Sarasota Wednesday, Apr. 27, 2016 5 years ago

Sarasota County may change food truck rules

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The county will host two workshops to present potential changes to mobile vendor rules.
by: Alex Mahadevan News Innovation Editor

Food trucks may soon have more room to roam in Sarasota County, as officials are ready to present new regulations for mobile vendors to the public.

The county will host two public workshops throughout the next several days to unveil relaxed food truck rules, which would axe the current required buffer between trucks and restaurants, and allow the moving businesses into more zoning districts then they are currently allowed.

The first meeting is at 6 p.m. Thursday, at the Robert L. Anderson Administration Center in Venice, and the second workshop is at 6 p.m. Monday, May 2, at the county building on Ringling Boulevard.

Currently, mobile food vendors must obtain a signed and notarized form from a brick-and-mortar restaurant if they want to work within 800 feet of the establishment. Also, food trucks can’t operate within 750 of each other.

In a draft of the ordinance, mobile vendors would be allowed to operate in five more zoning districts than two currently allowed, including properties within Commercial Neighborhood and Commercial Marine districts.

Also, permits for food trucks would require administrative approval, rather than have to go before the County Commission, which can sometimes take months to schedule.

More than three years ago, county staff began working on relaxing food truck regulations, but that effort stalled before it reached the County Commission. Last year, commissioners asked staff to prepare an amended ordinance for consideration.

“I think competition is healthy,” said Commissioner Paul Caragiulo, a prominent local restaurateur, in a previous interview with the Sarasota Observer. “We can figure out a way for everybody to coexist nicely.”

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