Mobile food vendor guidelines finalized in Princeton

Council agrees on ordinance after rounds of community input

PRINCETON — With three yes votes, a single no vote and one council member abstaining, the Princeton City Council passed a debated food truck ordinance Monday setting up a set of rules for mobile food vendors in the city.

A second and final reading of the ordinance, which has drawn sides among residents, regarding where and when food trucks can operate in city limits has been passed with a few key updates made to the ordinance as passed.

Beginning at midnight Tuesday mobile food, beverage and ice cream vendors operating within city limits will be subject to regulations over food trucks — a four-hour operating limit on a permit and operation limited to Rotary Park or Soldiers and Sailors Park.

Mayor Joel Quiram, before putting the ordinance to a vote read the following updates added after the first reading of the proposed ordinance.

Included in the changes are: the shortening of the novelty food vendor definition- for clarification; the times of operating have been clarified in regards to public vs. private property operation; the right of the city to impose “black out dates” restricting operation on specified days and a stipulation has been added to the rules of conduct regarding the use of silent generators.

The regulations on black out days and generators apply only to public property locations Quiram said, and will not apply to food trucks located on private properties.

A proposed 150 foot distance required between a food truck and a brick and mortar has been eliminated due to possible restraint of trade implications.

Council members Martin Makransky and Jerry Neumann along with Mayor Quiram voted in favor of the ordinance. Hector Gomez voted no and Mike McCall abstained from voting.

The debate over food truck regulations has been going on since April, as the council initially tabled ordinance talks until more input could be gathered from business owners who had concerns about mobile food vendors competing with brick and mortar restaurants.

Proponents of the food trucks argued the mobile food vendors were a welcome addition to Princeton, bringing in variety and encouraging people to come to Princeton and shop its Main Street, while some restaurant proprietors argued the trucks were a threat to their businesses and didn’t invest the same dollars into the community. A series of public hearings, which drew crowds to the council saw supporters on both sides.

In the end, the council agreed regulations were in the best interest of the city.