Port St. Joe holds first reading of food truck ordinance

Port St. Joe commissioners held their first reading of the city’s proposed food truck ordinance at their March 1 meeting.

The ordinance, if passed, would give the city some regulatory abilities over the mobile food dispensing vehicles.

Two workshops were hosted on the subject in January and February, inviting public participation and comment, and City Attorney Clinton McCahill pointed out several key changes that were made to the ordinance from its first original draft.

“At the last workshop, I was instructed to eliminate some things and keep some things, which I did, following the commission’s directive,” McCahill said before the board.  

“I also added a provision in the enforcement mechanism of this, and what I did was I allowed (the police), pursuant to Florida Statute 316… to be able to issue a citation in the amount of $150 towards the operator of the food truck at that moment.”

The ordinance, as drafted, would limit food trucks to lots in commercially-zoned areas, excluding vacant lots, and force food truck operators to gain written permission from the landowner before setting up. But the draft makes no moves to ban food trucks or issue fees or permits to operate the businesses — rights that have been preempted by the state. 

A full version of the ordinance is attached to the agenda for the city’s March 1 meeting, available on the city’s website.

MaCahill said he expects that there will be some hiccups implementing the bill, which can be addressed by the commission at a later date, but that he feels comfortable with the ordinance moving forward as written.

“I think no matter what we do today, as time goes on, there’ll be some kinks in the armor here,” he said at the February workshop. “And we’ll have to, and can, adjust it.”

A final reading will be held for the ordinance at the commission’s first meeting next month, which will be held at noon on April 5 at the commission chambers, located at 2775 Garrison Avenue.

At that time, commissioners will be given the opportunity to vote on and pass the ordinance.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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