Before Planning Director Steve Ervin began his presentation about the draft food truck ordinance, Mayor Brandi Harless thanked Ervin for his years of service to the City of Paducah leading to a standing ovation from those attending the meeting. This is Ervin’s final City Commission meeting since he is retiring at the end of this month. Ervin started with the City in the Planning Department in 1990 and was promoted to Planning Director in 2008. City Manager Jeff Pederson and each member of the Paducah Board of Commissioners thanked Ervin for his professionalism. Ervin certainly will be missed.
Planning Director Steve Ervin updated the Paducah Board of Commissioners on the research regarding food trucks also known as mobile food vending. Currently, mobile food trucks are allowed in Paducah only in the HBD (Highway Business District) zones which are along a section of U.S. 60/Hinkleville Road and a section of Lone Oak Road. Ervin first made a presentation regarding this topic to the Commission in February 2016. Since then, the Planning Department staff has looked at ordinances and guidelines in more than a dozen other cities. They also reviewed the Food on Wheels document through the Kentucky League of Cities, reviewed the NFPA guidelines, and met with the Purchase District Health Department.
Ervin says, “They [food trucks] are a food establishment as defined by the State, and they have to meet a lot of the same requirements that a food establishment has to meet.”
A proposed ordinance has been drafted which would first be presented at a Planning Commission meeting in the format of a public hearing. The draft ordinance addresses several topics including location and length of time a food truck could stay in a particular location. After completing an application process through the Planning Department, the trucks would be allowed in commercial zones. There is no fee for the application. Written permission would be required for any truck to locate on private property. The food truck may not operate for more than 14 consecutive days in one location and must wait 30 days before returning to that location. Also, the food truck may not be within 100 feet of the main entrance of any restaurant. The draft ordinance also addresses traffic and parking concerns and hours of operation. Several provisions also will be required such as a three compartment sink and hot and cold water within the unit. There also are provisions on how close the food truck could get to special events unless it is permitted as part of a special event. To address noise concerns, the food truck may not use bells, music, horns, or other sounds to attract customers and the noise level must comply with the City’s noise ordinances. Also, generators will not be permitted on Broadway, 2nd Street, or within 100 feet of a residence.
Jermaine Frederick of Paducah addressed the Commission. He wants to offer food truck service near the Lourdes Hospital. Frederick says, “I really believe and I know in my heart that this is going to work. Paducah is on the rise. This is a great city.” Mayor Harless says, “I am very excited about this.”
The next step will be a public hearing at a Planning Commission meeting. Once the Planning Commission provides their recommendation, an ordinance would be before the City Commission.