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Food trucks allowed

Food trucks are now approved for certain zones in unincorporated Dare County.

On Monday, March 19, Dare County’s Commissioners unanimously approved amendments and a revision to the county’s zoning code addressing food stands and mobile food units.

At a public hearing, seven people spoke in favor of the move, including three restauranteurs, Eric Reese with Outer Banks Brewing Station, Toby Gonzalez of Ten O Six and Ervin Bateman from Sugar Creek.

Reese called food trucks “a whole new avenue…We can diversify the Outer Banks food scene.”

Bateman would consider bringing a Sugar Creek food truck to Hatteras Island.

Brent Johnson, owner of the Jumpmasters Trampoline Park opening in June, led off the hearing with economic data about food trucks.

Kelley Macchio wants to put food trucks on her property in Frisco, which she called a “food desert” in the winter when the two restaurants close. Macchio wanted some changes in the draft ordinance.

Under the new ordinance, only one food truck is allowed per parcel. Macchio suggested making the number of food trucks dependent on the square footage of a parcel.

She objected to the new ordinance requirement of only eight seats per truck and the prohibition against portable toilets. The new rule permits eight seats outside, unenclosed. Dare Planning Director Donna Creef told the commissioners the requirement was a state rule. She said using portable toilets was not prudent.

The ordinance originally called for food trucks to be affiliated with a restaurant in Dare County. Macchio suggested the language change to commissary. This suggestion was incorporated.

A commissary is a place to store and prepare food and is governed by rules from the Health Department. Steve Bonney, who has a rig ready to go, also supported the move to commissary.

Technically, the new ordinance changes the following commercial zones in these unincorporated areas of Dare County:

Avon: C-2 and C-3

Buxton: C-2, C-3, I-1

Hatteras: C-2H

Colington: VC-2

Manteo Outside: C-3, I-1

Stumpy Point: SP-C

Those considering a food truck or mobile stand need to consult the zoning code as to whether the food truck use is a permitted or conditional use.

A health department approval is necessary to operate.

A food stand must follow the setback requirements for the parcel’s principal use structure.

Ten parking spaces are required.

Regarding signage, signs on the truck or stand will be addressed during the planning department approval process. No freestanding sign or sandwich board can be used. One flag may be displayed. A sign may be attached to that of the principal use if the existing stand does not exceed the maximum allowable square footage.

Hours of operation will be established during the approval process.

A mobile food unit “shall be kept in a ‘ready to move’ state. No storage buildings or drive-thru windows are permitted.

Ice cream trucks are not addressed in this ordinance. The regulations do not apply to catering services or special event food vendors as approved by the county’s health department or emergency response feeding services offered after a disaster.