Natchez drafting new food truck ordinance

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 15, 2018


NATCHEZ — A new food truck ordinance is in the works in light of increased interest from transient vendors in the City of Natchez.

With no such ordinance specifically tailored for food trucks, City Planner Riccardo Giani said a new ordinance would permit food trucks on public property — a simple luxury that they are not afforded today.

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“It’s just allowing them to park on city property or public right-of-way and conduct their business,” Giani said Thursday. “Right now, that’s impossible, and that seems counterintuitive.”

The city’s transient vendors ordinance currently requires those types of businesses to station themselves on private property only, putting seemingly prime food-truck real estate such as the north end of Broadway Street off limits, Giani said. Additionally, transient vendor licenses are only granted for a maximum of six months before requiring a renewal.

On Tuesday, Giani received unanimous approval from city leaders to begin drafting a new ordinance, which he said must not be so stringent to place clamps on a burgeoning industry, while also helping to regulate the transient establishments for the safety and well being of citizens.

Regarding mobile food service businesses, Ward 6 Alderman Dan Dillard said the city should encourage those types of vendors

“I can see it on the bluff where (food trucks are) an attraction to passersby and those who come and visit it,” Dillard said. “There’s just a real kind of neat thing about having these. I’ve seen them in places like Seaside, Florida, which is a high-end, affluent area.”

Giani said he would use ordinances from similar cities such as Savannah, Georgia, as models. While the new ordinance is in the draft stage at this point, some of the expected language would allow the trucks on public right-of-way, restrict the trucks from parking within 200 to 300 feet of an established restaurant and set basic design standards for vehicles.

In the meantime, Giani said the ordinance will go through a rigorous review process and the city will hold multiple public forums to gather feedback from local stakeholders.