ANNA MARIA – City officials are putting the brakes on efforts to create a designated food truck area on the northwestern edge of Bayfront Park.
With potentially affected residents and property owners expressing objections and city commissioners expressing concerns, further committee discussion and decision-making has been postponed until October 13 at the latest. .
The designated food truck area is the city’s response to state legislation enacted by the Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis in 2020, giving the state sole authority to enact regulations for food trucks and other mobile food delivery vehicles. is giving to
State law prohibits local governments from enacting or maintaining an outright ban on mobile food delivery vehicles and prohibits local governments from paying out-of-state issued licenses, registrations, permits, and operating expenses for food trucks. Forbidden to demand.
In the past, the city required food truck operators to obtain special permits from the city, but this is no longer permitted by the state.
When first discussing the need for designated food truck areas on July 28, Mayor Dan Murphy said: The whole city is fair game until we do something. ”
The city board was presented with the first reading of the city ordinance on August 11th. The ordinance proposed placing a designated food truck area at the far end of Bayfront Park, near the intersection of Hibiscus Street and North Shore Drive.
In presenting the ordinance for a second reading and expected final adoption on August 25, City Attorney Becky Bose also presented an accompanying City Resolution that was not discussed on August 11. The location of designated food truck areas is established by city ordinance. Also, food truck operator rules and regulations are established by city resolutions that can be more easily revised as needed.
The resolution proposes to limit food trucks to four on a first-come, first-served basis from 10am to 6pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The resolution also included language that food truck operators must comply with all city ordinances, including noise ordinances.
Daniel Massey owns a home on North Shore Drive closest to the proposed food truck area. He asked the commission to include decibel-specific noise limits in the food truck operation, and that the food truck’s generator should be located at the park, rather than his home, which serves as a part-time residence and part-time vacation rental. He also expressed concern about the attraction of rodents to food truck areas.
Massey said he owns a restaurant in Texas and said he would allow food trucks to operate on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays when food truck operators are less likely to set up shop in Anna Maria. I suggested.
On behalf of potentially affected property owners, attorney Christopher Berg said: A proposed food truck area would be inconsistent with community characteristics. ”
Greg Raupp owns a house across from Massey’s. He and others were shocked when he learned of the proposed Bayfront Park location, which he opposes for several reasons, including noise, odors, rodents, road safety, and traffic jams. Raupp asked the commission to postpone the vote so it could further evaluate the proposed location and regulations.
Kerry Kotouc owns a house on North Bay Boulevard and has been visiting Anna Maria since childhood. She quoted a song by Joni Mitchell and equated the proposed Bayfront Park location with pavement in paradise and installation of a parking lot.
“I can’t understand a more inappropriate place to put a food truck,” she said.
She suggested City Pier Park as a better place, pointing out that the park is already being used for a city-sponsored farmers’ market.
Kotouc noted the long wait times she experienced at local restaurants over the weekend and expressed her belief that food trucks would provide additional dining options without harming those restaurants.
North Bay Boulevard resident John Cella said he and many others were not thrilled about the proposed Bayfront Park location, instead expressing support for the City Pier Park location.
Brian Seymour, operator of City Pier Grill, said he did not oppose designated food truck zones, but said the regulations contained in the resolution needed more work. And since there is usually no electricity, food truck operators rely on generators. He suggested installing an outlet to alleviate the need for a generator.
Murphy said he liked the idea. Carter asked if the city could bill vendors for the electricity it used. Murphy said the cost of recovering those costs could exceed the cost of providing electricity for free.
Vose has repeatedly said the city’s food truck regulations must be seen as reasonable by the state. She also said she was unaware of any existing legal precedent that could guide the city in these efforts.
At a meeting last week, Commissioner John Crane said the proposed Bayfront Park location was “the least offensive alternative.”
Commissioner Robert Kingan was delighted when Bose said he believed the city could limit food truck operations to no more than three days a week. , proposed that food trucks be allowed only on Saturdays and Sundays.
Regarding generator noise, Commissioner Carol Carter asked if a city resolution could be used to identify the types of generators used by food truck operators. We suggested addressing generator noise, but Murphy said this needed to be fixed.
When asked if the city of Short could lease designated space to food truck operators, Bose said the state might think it imposes a fee.
Short questioned whether food truck operators would drive to Anna Maria on a first-come, first-served basis with no guaranteed location, and asked if the city could use a reservation system. Vose said this could be considered a state-prohibited registration.
“The more innovative we are, the more likely we are to be sued,” said Vose.