Ordinance allowing food trucks in the works

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 7/18/18

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Food trucks might soon be routing their GPS systems to the City of Keystone Heights.

During the regular Keystone Heights City Council meeting held July 2, City Clerk Lynn …

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Ordinance allowing food trucks in the works

Posted

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS – Food trucks might soon be routing their GPS systems to the City of Keystone Heights.

During the regular Keystone Heights City Council meeting held July 2, City Clerk Lynn Rutkowski explained to the council an ordinance she has been working to bring into fruition. For anyone familiar with the food trucks rules and regulations found in the Jacksonville Beach area, what could become Keystone Heights’ ordinance will sound very familiar. That’s because Rutkowski has been working with Jacksonville Beach in an effort to retrofit their ordinance to fit within the City of Keystone Heights.

“This ordinance in front of you [which, at this point, was simply a draft] is tweaked from that of Jax Beach,” Rutkowski said. “It’s very, very good, and I’ve been working with [Jax Beach officials] to adopt something similar to what they’re doing here in Keystone.”

According to Rutkowski, the food truck ordinance is something she’s been working for quite a while and she’s been doing so due to the increasing demand for the food service vehicles.

“Food trucks are becoming more and more popular and they’re coming into the city,” Rutkowski said. “They’re coming into the city and people are asking for them, and they’re asking about them, so this ordinance is hopefully what will be our way of answering those questions.”

When Rutkowski brought the draft ordinance up to the council, the number one question she was looking to see answered was what locations the council saw best fit for food trucks coming to town. Rutkowski recommended the commercial district of Keystone Heights, citing that this area of the city has the most property and parking. The council did not have to vote to answer this question just yet, but the general consensus was that the commercial district would, in fact, be the best area for food trucks to set up shop.

As the draft stands right now, mobile food vendors must be located on a lot of at least one acre, must display their permits at all times and must be within 100 feet of a main entrance to an eating establishment or similar food service business. The draft also states that the hours of operation for a food truck must fall between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

During the meeting, the general consensus seemed to be that food trucks coming to Keystone Heights should operate under a provision called Use-by-Exception, which at its simplest level means that as long as a food trucks checks off all of the required boxes, and follows all of the rules and regulations set in place, the food truck will be allowed to serve in the city.

The first hearing for of this ordinance will take place during the next Keystone Heights City Council regular meeting on Aug. 6.

In other business, the city council is looking at ways to cut down on the thru traffic on Commercial Circle, specifically large vehicles such as semi-trucks and garbage trucks. According to Rutkowski, more and more business owners have complained to city hall citing increased traffic through what is widely considered the busiest part of Keystone Heights.

City Manager Scott Kornegay recommended the council place a weight restriction on the books to handle the issue. He said the restriction would prevent large vehicles such as semi-trucks and garbage trucks from traveling through and would allow police to enforce the regulations and accompanying fines for those who fail to follow the rules.

If this recommendation is put into motion, signs will be made alerting incoming drivers of the restriction. During the meeting, though, the council recommended to staff that more research be done to determine the best solution for this issue.

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