Public comment opens for review of new food truck requirements | ParkRecord.com

Public comment opens for review of new food truck requirements

Operators must now obtain only one permit in their primary location

The state's new requirements for food truck operators may lead to an increased presence of mobile vendors in Summit County, according to Phil Bondurant, the Health Department’s Director of Environmental Health.

Utah lawmakers approved a measure during the 2017 Legislature's General Session that resulted in modifications to how food trucks are regulated. The changes have essentially made it easier for vendors to obtain permits to operate in various communities, Bondurant said.

Under the new law, an operator is only required to obtain a food truck permit in their primary location, which is determined by the home address of the applicant, Bondurant said. However, to operate beyond their primary city or county of operation, vendors must still obtain a secondary permit in those jurisdictions, he added.

"Before, food trucks were required to get a food truck permit in each jurisdiction they operated in and those costs were subject to plan and review fees in each of the different locations so the costs do begin to add up," Bondurant said.

Previously, the Summit County Health Department only issued permits to vendors with a licensed kitchen in each jurisdiction. Bondurant said that kept food trucks at a minimum in the county. Now, a brick and mortar establishment is only required in the primary location.

He said, historically, about 10 permits have been granted in the county, not including those for special events, such as the Park Silly Sunday Market and Park City Kimball Arts Festival.

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In May, the county's Board of Health approved temporary food truck and mobile vendor regulations to allow Health Department staffers time to draft permanent language that would be added to the county's health code. The temporary ordinance is effective through September.

The public is now being asked to comment on the proposed food truck permitting requirements by either mail or email. Comments must be postmarked or received at the Health Department by 5 p.m. July 15.

According to the proposed language, a primary food truck permit will be issued based on a two-tiered, risk-based assessment. Primary permits will range in price between $200 and $350, while secondary permits will costs $100. When only offering food at a private event on private property, a food truck operator can legally operate in another health district, acting temporarily as a “caterer,” without obtaining a secondary food truck permit, the language states.

"These new requirements do not supersede any of our, or the FDA's, restrictions or the sanitation process. It strictly deals with how they obtain their permits in either primary or secondary locations," Bondurant said. "When they would come up and apply for their permit we would conduct one inspection at the event they were permitted for.

"Now when they come and apply for their permit we can conduct our inspection anytime over that permitted year," he said. "We believe it is going to increase sanitation with these food trucks."

Bondurant said the Health Department has received calls from restaurant and business owners concerned about the implications of the new requirements. He said it is a common concern shared with the other 13 health departments in the state.

Bondurant said several of the callers mistakenly believe the Health Department can regulate where food trucks are able to operate. He emphasized that they are not the regulatory body.

"Parking and location is handled by municipalities through their zoning and planning ordinance. We don't permit where they can be, we just make sure they are safe," he said. "One of the unintended consequences of that rule change is that these trucks now are definitely more mobile and able to hit an entirely different area where they essentially haven't been before.

"I suspect we will begin to see a number of municipalities exploring where food trucks can and cannot be within their jurisdictions," he said.

The 30-day comment period is now open. Comments may be submitted to the Summit County Health Department by mail or email and must be postmarked or received by 5 p.m. July 15. They may be emailed to dsiddoway@summitcounty.org mailed to: Derek Siddoway, Summit County Health Department, 650 Round Valley Drive, Suite 100, Park City, Utah 84060. To view the proposed code go to http://www.summitcountyhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Language-for-30-day-comment-period_food-trucks.pdf.