Summerville considering changes to food truck ordinances

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 5:12 PM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - The Summerville Town Council Friday morning approved a first reading of changes to ordinances regarding when and where food trucks can operate in the town.

During a special meeting, council member Walter Bailey offered a number of changes including allowing food trucks to operate anywhere in town, whether in business or residential areas, as long as they have DHEC permits and close by 10 p.m.

He proposed removing a number of other items including requiring businesses to get special permits from the town and limits on how many food trucks can operate in a spot without needing a temporary event permit. During the meeting, he said the town was over-regulating the operators.

“I’m not aware of a problem,” he said. “The only problem I’m aware of is that people like these food trucks and all of a sudden without a whole lot of advance notice apparently (we) pull the rug out from under them.”

The town had not been enforcing current ordinances on food trucks but recently began doing so again. That led to concern from some residents, including Kristyn Hicks, who had organized a weekly food truck event for her neighborhood since March.

“It got everybody out, it was great and then all of a sudden it came to a stop,” she said.

While she had the blessing of her neighbors, her HOA and the business owners, it went against town ordinances. So when the plug was pulled, she took to the internet, creating a petition calling on the town to allow food trucks anywhere in town. As of Friday afternoon, that petition had more than 1,100 signatures.

“I started the position in hopes that a lot of people would just reach out to the council members and their voices would be heard and we could get it changed, the ordinance changed so food trucks could be allowed back in the neighborhoods,” she explained.

While the council debates what changes to make, they agreed to suspend enforcement of current ordinances, meaning Hicks and others can get back to business. Any changes would require at least a second reading before town council and may need to go before the planning commission.

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