Res­i­dents to again have their say on food trucks

Pub­lic hear­ing sched­uled for Sept. 20

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­

Food trucks may be ap­pear­ing in Charles County’s com­mer­cial dis­tricts later this year.

The Board of Charles County Com­mis­sion­ers have sched­uled a hear­ing on Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. on Zon­ing Text Amend­ment 16-140, which would al­low mo­bile food ser­vice fa­cil­i­ties, com­monly known as “food trucks,” to op­er­ate in the county.

The com­mis­sion­ers voted unan­i­mously to move the leg­is­la­tion to a pub­lic hear­ing; Com­mis­sion­ers’ Vice Pres­i­dent De­bra Davis (D)

was ab­sent at Tues­day’s meet­ing.

“This was ini­ti­ated by the county com­mis­sion­ers some months ago, and we’ve done some ex­ten­sive re­search on this is­sue,” said Steve Ball, county plan­ning di­rec­tor.

The leg­is­la­tion would al­low food trucks to op­er­ate in var­i­ous com­mer­cial dis­tricts in the county.

“We think they could work well in the re­de­vel­op­ment area,” Ball said.

Op­er­at­ing hours would be be­tween 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. un­der the pro­posed leg­is­la­tion. Writ­ten per­mis­sion from the prop­erty own­ers where the food truck is parked would have to be ob­tained, and ac­cess to re­stroom fa­cil­i­ties would have to be made avail­able for fa­cil­i­ties man­agers and staff.

“They would be sub­ject to Mary­land sales and use tax,” Ball said.

Mo­bile Ser­vice Fa­cil­ity Per­mits from the plan­ning and growth man­age­ment de­part­ment and the health de­part­ment would have to be ob­tained.

“They would be sub­ject to the same health in­spec­tions as brick-and­mor­tar restau­rants,” Ball said.

No ta­bles or chairs are al­lowed un­der the or­di­nance, and trash re­cep­ta­cles would need to be pro­vided, Ball said.

Food trucks are per­mit­ted in Mont­gomery County and are reg­u­lated as ven­dors, Ball said. Prince Ge­orge’s County passed an or­di­nance in 2015 al­low­ing food trucks in des­ig­nated “Food Truck Hubs” un­der cer­tain re­stric­tions.

A pub­lic hear­ing be­fore the plan­ning com­mis­sion was held May 2. Ball said 14 speak­ers spoke in fa­vor of the food truck leg­is­la­tion and nine spoke against it be­fore the plan­ning com­mis­sion ap­proved the leg­is­la­tion.

Ball said the re­sults of the pub­lic hear­ing will be made avail­able on Board­Docs prior to the Sept. 20 hear­ing.

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