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Posted on: June 22, 2022

Food Truck Ordinance Offers Streamlined Process for Vendors

Person receives box of food

Sioux Center is considering an ordinance to continue to welcome food trucks to the community, promote safety, and continue fair competition.

“We enjoy food vendors in Sioux Center and the service they provide citizens. We’re excited to have them in town,” said Building Official Josh Dorhout. “As we see food truck numbers and interest grow, we want that to happen in an orderly and thought through manner.”

The proposed food truck ordinance helps determine a location that is safe and appropriate for traffic and pedestrians, lays out general guidelines like having food truck operators provide garbage cans and remove all trash each day, and gives an opportunity to check their state food license before they begin selling food to people. The ordinance is designed to provide more consistency with what is required for other businesses to operate within the community, Dorhout said.

Prior to this, the only existing ordinance related to food truck approval took three or four weeks and required the food vendor to meet with the Sioux Center Board of Adjustment, which the City staff doesn’t see as practical or timely, Dorhout said.

“We had food trucks calling us from other parts of Iowa saying they would like to come and wondering what they needed to do to get a local permit,” Dorhout said.

City staff reached out to other Iowa communities about their food truck plans and developed a local plan using insight from ordinances used by those cities, including Spirit Lake, Spencer, and Storm Lake.

“The idea with the ordinance is to be a fast track for food truck owners to get their local permit, to have it done within three business days,” Dorhout said. “We wanted to make it easier, simpler, and also do our due diligence and make sure food trucks coming into town are operated safely.”

In the proposed ordinance, vendors can apply for a permit for the calendar year (with a $150 fee) or for a single event of up to 3 days (with a $75 fee). The permit will cover all locations they plan to be at during those time frames. The City Council will review the ordinance a third time at the July 11 meeting before voting on whether to approve it.

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