July 25, 2014

The Morning Sun

Mt. Pleasant is almost a year into the implementation of its revised food truck ordinance and has not received any criticism regarding the changes.

“I checked with both the city manager’s office and my office, and haven’t heard any complaints,” City Clerk Jeremy Howard said.

Right now, the city has two food trucks licensed for operation.

Howard said that because Central Michigan University Research Corporation has recently kicked off “Food Truck Fridays,” an initiative aimed at drawing more attention toward food truck start-ups, the city might see an uptick in registered food trucks.

“I think that Food Truck Fridays has kind of put that into the forefront a little bit, so I think we’ll see potentially at least people talking about it,” he said.

Howard said the ordinance, passed in October 2013, went into effect November of the same year.

The ordinance was drafted with a one-year sunset provision, Howard said, so if it is not re-examined by the commission within the coming months, it will expire.

If the ordinance does end, Howard said, the city’s provision on the mobile food truck specifics will end as well.

However, the changes made to the rest of the ordinance, such as wording changes, will stay, he said.

The ordinance changes allowed food trucks to park in the downtown area and on Main Street south of High Street between the hours of 8 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Twelve of the trucks can register per year on a first-come first-serve basis, and vendors must move if they present any sort of a threat to public safety.

Trucks cannot park within 150 feet of any open food-serving establishment.

The ordinance also increased non-compliance fines that vendors will face if they disobey the rules.

The issue began in April of last year, when the Wiener Wagon approached the city about upgrading its push cart to a motor-vehicle pulled trailer.

At that point, the city realized its existing ordinance did not have provisions for mobile food service providers.

Howard said he will reexamine the ordinance within the coming months to approach the commission about whether they want to change it at all.

“Without there being any complaints it’s going to be their decision, whether they want to address it or if they want to make changes,” he said. “Even though we haven’t heard any complaints, they may still want to make changes.”

In bigger cities, a gathering of food trucks is often the perfect spot for lunch or late-night snack. In Mt. Pleasant, it's a new thing hosted by a CMU organization to boost local entrepreneurs and serve up tasty lunch options at the same time.

Excerpt: Central Michigan University Research Corporation, an on-campus organization devoted to helping small businesses, hosted its second “Food Truck Friday,” event Friday. Three different local vendors capitalized on the opportunity which Elissa Richmond-Gagne, marketing and public relations director for CMU called exciting.