As food trucks continue to pop up around Kodiak, with ten active trucks operating now plus a brand new pizza truck opening just this week, the city is taking steps to regulate the growing industry.
In this week’s city work session, the city council discussed ways to standardize how food trucks operate in city limits, and most notably, on city property.
First, food trucks will soon need to be licensed with the city if they want to operate on city property.
In addition to meeting fire and other safety regulations, the city will ask food trucks to pay $500 to apply for the permit.
Food trucks operating on private property inside the city limits will not be required to have a permit.
But those food trucks who are looking to set up shop on the spit or a public parking lot will face some restrictions. For instance, only 10 permits will be available at first, according to City Manager Mike Tvenge: “I don’t want to see food carts all over, food vendors all over town. In town, I would say 6 sites, max…five/six street sites, I’m looking at 10 sites right now is probably the limit.”
The proposed locations are the old library location on Lower Mill Bay road, which could accommodate four food trucks, three spots for trucks on the spit, and one spot each at the large parking lot at the Y, the smaller parking lot across from the ferry terminal on Marine Way, and fisherman’s wharf.
One other concern that the city addressed is ensuring the mobility of food trucks.
Tvenge: “No food service vehicle shall remain substantially in the same location longer than 12 hours in a 24-hour period. That means they pack up and go home at night and come back tomorrow.”
There are several reasons for this, as City Fire Chief Jim Mullican explains: “The ability for fire inspection, they have to bring it to the fire station to be inspected, so that’s how I can guarantee that they’re mobile. And the second piece of this is through legislation, they have to move these things every 12 hours, and now we’re guaranteeing that they’re staying in their category of being a mobile food vendor.”
The city is hoping that the dedicated spots for food trucks will encourage commerce and foot traffic in the city, without competing too greatly with the brick-and-mortar restaurants, and that food trucks could bring a different energy to the town, as Mayor Pat Branson looks forward to.
“We could have food trucks and then entertainment in Sargent Park, which I have advocated for, for quite some time. It’s the perfect venue for that.”
The plans are still in draft form. The City Council will take up a formal ordinance for public input during their July meetings.