Food trucks get temporary OK to visit Groveport neighborhoods

SCOTT GERFEN
editorial@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

Food trucks are permitted to visit residential areas of Groveport under new guidelines set up by the city.

The temporary rules are similar to those in other cities that have eased restrictions during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"Subdivisions and neighborhoods have gotten creative in inviting food trucks to come in and set up for an evening," said Benjamin King, city administrator. "We received some requests and there's an increase in demand."

Some food-truck operators say the pandemic has upped demand by residents working from home.

"The demand for residential food-truck stops arose from local residents' desire to have a variety of food options nearby while observing Ohio's stay-at-home order," said a news release from the Central Ohio Food Truck Association.

"COFTA has worked closely with the city of Columbus, Hilliard and many other local municipalities to develop ... relationships that benefit both the small-business owners and the community members represented. ... Most municipalities COFTA serves have been willing to temporarily suspend any existing zoning ordinances that would prohibit mobile food vendors from operating in residential areas," the release said.

In Groveport, food-truck operators must get a special-use mobile-vendor permit from the city to operate in a residential area. They must inform the city where the truck will be parked and hours of operation.

Additionally, food trucks must be parked on private property, cannot block sidewalks and cannot have more than two signs, which also must be posted on private property.

Food trucks may operate for up to four hours but not past 8 p.m.

"We know there will be certain situations like one that came up during council: What if there are a bunch of people who live on a cul-de-sac and they want to put it in the middle of the cul-de-sac instead of somebody's driveway?" King said. "We know we will have to tweak it and look at each individual situation as it comes."

He said city officials will monitor how the temporary permits are working before going to City Council with a request to permanently change the zoning code.

"Let's see what the demand is and go from there," King said.

ThisWeek reporter Paul Comstock contributed to this story.

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