Food Truck

Ketchum, pictured here, and Hailey already allow food trucks. Bellevue could soon be next.

The Bellevue City Council will hold a public hearing tonight, May 10, to consider new regulations and permitting procedures for mobile food vendors, or food trucks.

The proposed new law would allow food trucks only on private property and prohibit them from staying in one spot for more than five days under a six-month renewable permit. Under the proposed code amendment, food trucks would be allowed to operate from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. after acquiring a Health District permit and business permit, and fulfilling about a dozen other application criteria.

The Bellevue Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously to approve these recommendations to the City Council, yet there has been little public comment on the issue since it was brought before the council by city staff a few months ago.

In advance of tonight’s 6 p.m. meeting, Bellevue officials received a letter from Dan Alban, attorney for the advocacy group Institute for Justice, calling for fewer regulations on mobile food vendors.

“The regulations recommended by the commission are anti-competitive in nature and stifling for the vendors that you are aiming to support,” wrote Alban. “Mobile vendors should not be limited to operating in an area for just five days out of the year. Food truck vendors should have the same protections under law as other food sellers, meaning just as similar types of restaurants can be located near one another, food trucks should not be banned from areas that have other places to eat.”

Ketchum has a small area on Main Street dedicated to food trucks, which also show up in large groups for outdoor concerts and festivals. Many valley restaurants have food trucks for mobile service. The city of Hailey has several food trucks in operation in summer and no regulations.

Bellevue Community Development Director Diane Shay initiated the matter with city hall after mobile food vendors offering “sundry items” made plans to operate in the city.

P&Z Commissioner Paul Hopfenbeck said last month after drafting the proposed ordinance: “There will not be too many places you can do this [operate a food truck], and that will probably be a good thing.”

For full coverage, see the Wednesday edition of the Mountain Express.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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