CHARLOTTE, Mich. — It's not uncommon to see food trucks in Eaton Rapids. And when you do see them, they're usually located near other food establishments because they have to be on a property zoned for food service.
Now there is an ordinance on the table that would give food trucks more latitude to open in different locations, like at a park for a wedding or at a church function.
When it comes to food trucks, "there's nothing specific on the books," said Jason Smith, executive director for Eaton Rapids Downtown Development Authority, "so they would have to follow proper zoning laws, so they would have to be on a piece of property that's zoned for food. They would have to comply with sign ordinaries, noise ordinances, parking, etc."
Food trucks don't have to pay fees to operate in Eaton Rapids now. If the ordinance passes, a fee comes with it. Smith says they have not set a price yet.
"A minimal application fee. And then, depending on how long or how often they want to operate in the city, it's sort of a sliding scale. So, the longer that they're here, the more often they're here it's a little bit higher," he said.
Steven Maine is an owner and operator of the Fry Guy Food Truck. He's had his food truck out in Eaton Rapids for about three months. He believes the proposed ordnance would be a good thing.
"I think it will help us out a lot, just because, when I did first bring it out here, there's not really a set of rules to follow. So, it's really vague on what I can and can't do. And you know I don't want to do things I'm not supposed to do," Maine said.
Smith says as a city, they've had good luck with food trucks turning into brick-and-mortar businesses, and they're hoping this ordinance helps to keep that going.
"Bringing them into the city seeing that their product is successful and then purchasing a space where they can operate full time out of a brick-and-mortar operation," says Smith.
The ordinance is still in the discussion phase, and Smith says they hope to get it to a first reading by the City Council in about a month.
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