St. Joe commission passes food truck ordinance

With a unanimous vote during their April 5 meeting, the Port St. Joe city commissioner passed a new food truck ordinance, giving the city some regulatory abilities over the mobile food dispensing vehicles.

“I have one item on the agenda today, and that is Ordinance 597, dealing with mobile food trucks,” said City Attorney Clinton McCahill before the board. “I need a motion and a second reading and adoption.”

A motion to approve the ordinance was made by Commissioner for Group One Eric Langston and seconded by Commissioner for Group Four Brett Lowry. 

Commissioners Scott Hoffman and David Ashbrook abstained from voting on the matter due to conflicts of interest.

There was no discussion or public comment on the ordinance at the April 5 meeting, though at previous city meetings, there had been active public participation on the matter.

The ordinance limits food trucks to lots in commercially-zoned areas, excluding vacant lots, and forces food truck operators to gain notarized written permission from the landowner before setting up. It also lays out rules regarding tents, seating, lighting, noise and signage.

But the new legislation makes no move to ban food trucks or issue fees or permits to operate the businesses — rights that have been preempted by the state. 

The ordinance will be enforced by the Port St. Joe Police Department and by city code enforcement officers, and penalties for violation include fines of up to $500 per infraction and orders to cease operations.

Exceptions will be made for special events, which require different permitting through the city.

Two workshops were held on the ordinance in January and February, and a first reading of the ordinance was held at the city’s March 1 meeting.

At the second workshop held for the ordinance, City Attorney Clinton McCahill expressed that the city was likely to run into a few hiccups while rolling out the new regulations.

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

The ordinance is effective immediately as of its final reading and passage.

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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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