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Covington council adopts food truck ordinance
food truck

COVINGTON, Ga. — Prior to the recent passage of a mobile food vendor ordinance by the Covington City Council, Community Development Director Trey Sanders said the only person or group of people that could operate a food truck within the city was the city itself.

The Covington City Council adopted a food truck ordinance Nov. 16 after its first reading to allow more people the opportunity to run a food truck while ensuring consumers are also protected.

“This is an attempt to allow people to have a food trucks if they follow the proper process,” Sanders said Nov. 2 after the ordinance’s first reading. “That includes inspection of food truck, obviously.

The ordinance requires mobile food vendors to apply for a license from the city of Covington before being allowed to sell food. And owners can’t just get a license and put their truck wherever they want.

Per the ordinance, no mobile food vendors can operate in the public right-of-way unless part of a city-sponsored event or sanctioned special event. Ice cream trucks are the only exception.

Mobile food vendors may not operate on public property without the written consent of the property owner.

Mobile food vendors may not be located within 15 feet of any street intersection or pedestrian crosswalk, or 10 feet of any driveway. They cannot be located with 200 feet of a restaurant establishment.

Unless part of a city-issued special event permit, mobile food vendors are permitted on a parcel no more than eight days in any calendar month, and a minimum of two calendar days must transpire between operating on any given parcel. 

No two vendors my be parked on the same parcel, unless it’s part of a city-issued special event permit.

Vendors cannot take up more than 10% of parking spaces on a given parcel.

Vending structures cannot be left unattended or stored at any time on the open vending site when vending is not taking place or during restricted hours of operation. (Hours of operation are 7-9 a.m. and/or 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.)

A mobile food vendor that prepares food shall maintain a $1 million liability insurance policy.

Except for ice cream trucks, mobile food vendors cannot make amplified sounds while on the road or parked.

All mobile food vendors will be subject to comply with all state, federal and local health a safety regulations and requirements.

“There is a set of standards that they must adhere to, and it’s the same SafeServe standards and certifications that restaurants have,” Sanders said. “I assume that a lot of the standards are similar … there are probably though some additional measures specific to a food truck.”

“They have to get permitted by not only us, but also by the Health Department. They have to show us the health department inspections,” City Attorney Frank Turner Jr. said. “They will be inspected regularly just like restaurants.”

Mayor Steve Horton said the ordinance was similar to an ordinance introduced to the council a few months ago, but the latter ordinance was “quite complicated,” he said.

“This version is shorter, easy to comprehend,” Horton said.

After brief discussion, the council unanimously approved the ordinance.