Ordinance could pave way for food trucks in Paducah
By Laurel Black
The Paducah Sun-via Kentucky Press News Service
Paducah's city commissioners took another look at food trucks and thanked departing Planning Director Steve Ervin for his service at their Tuesday meeting, Ervin's last before retiring.
Ervin presented a draft of a zoning ordinance that would allow mobile food vehicles to operate under specific guidelines. The proposed ordinance would first be presented at a public hearing during a planning commission meeting, likely on April 17, before returning to the commission for consideration. Ervin said the ordinance could pass in time for the summer season.
"I am excited about this," Mayor Brandi Harless said. "I think we have a table full of people (at the commission meeting) who are excited about this."
The discussion marked a return to the topic for the commission, which had pondered the idea over a year ago.
The ordinance would allow mobile food trucks, which are currently only allowed on the highway business district zone along U.S. 60/Hinkleville Road, to operate in a number of other zones.
The trucks would be allowed to operate from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. within the public right-of-way, on public parking lots on commercial zones, and on private property with non-residential uses. Hours could be extended if the vehicle were located on private property and the business were open, Ervin said.
The trucks would not be allowed to locate within 100 feet of the principal entrance of any restaurant where more than 50 percent of the sales are derived from food. They could not operate for more than 14 consecutive days, and after that period, they wouldn't be allowed to operate at the same location until 30 days had passed, per Kentucky Administrative Regulations.
Food truck vendors must obtain written permission from the property owner to locate on private property. They also couldn't set up within 500 feet from special event permitted areas, such as Barbecue on the River or Quilt Week. They could not play music or sounds to attract customers and would not be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages unless permitted as part of a special event.
Each vendor would be required to have a current business license from the city of Paducah. Approval from the health department and the city's Fire Prevention Division would also be required, per the ordinance, which also outlines health department requirements for the trucks.
"They are a food establishment as defined by the state, and they have to meet a lot of the same requirements," Ervin said.
Jermaine Frederick of JJ's Wings and Things, who said he's been hoping for an ordinance for about five years, expressed enthusiasm at the meeting. He wants to operate his food truck at the Lourdes Pavilion.
"We've got some things to iron out, but I really believe, I know in my heart, that this is going to work. Paducah is on the rise. This is a great city, and I'm going to create some jobs," he said.
Ervin said after the meeting that he couldn't anticipate what hurdles the ordinance might face in a public hearing. The idea received positive feedback from restaurateurs when the commission first broached it a year ago.
Tuesday marked Ervin's last presentation to the city; he is retiring at the end of the month from the department he joined in 1990. Commissioners and City Manager Jeff Pederson thanked Ervin for his service.
"We never could catch you unprepared," Commissioner Allan Rhodes told Ervin.