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Oxford to make room for food trucks

Being known for its eclectic range of restaurants, Oxford officials are considering an ordinance to help manage food trucks looking to set up shop in Oxford to sell on the go.

Assistant City Planner Ben Requet presented the ordinance to the Oxford Board of Aldermen Tuesday for its first official reading. A public hearing will be held in two weeks and the aldermen are expected to vote on the ordinance on March 2.

“We’ve started receiving some questions from residents as to food trucks, what our rules and regulations are, and I discovered, we don’t really have much on the books,” Requet said. “I’ve spent about a half a year researching this and talking to people in the industry and I believe it’s a good ordinance. It’s not overly restrictive but it puts in some regulations.”

The ordinance, if passed, would not circumvent any state laws on the books regarding regulations of food trucks.

The ordinance addresses pushable food carts, like a hot dog stand, and a food truck, that is mobile and has a working kitchen inside.

Each mobile food cart or truck will be required to have a permit from the city of Oxford and a food vending permit from the

Mississippi Department of Health. The carts or trucks will be subject to inspection by the Oxford Fire Department. The food trucks cannot park on public, city-owned property, rather only on private property or property owned by the city but leased to a private entity, like the Powerhouse or the new pavilion on Bramlett Boulevard. The owner of the food truck or cart must have written permission from the property owner to operate and all truck or cart owners must have valid insurance of $500,000 per mobile.

Food vending permits will cost $250 a year.

The food trucks only will be allowed in areas currently zoned for business, however a special exception can be granted from the Oxford Planning Commission to operate a mobile food vendor in a Multi-Family Unit zoning, or RC zoning.

The food trucks will be allowed to operate from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday-Wednesday and 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday and Friday. The sale of alcohol from any food truck is prohibited.

“We’ve been through the Ordinance Review Committee with this where we’ve had overwhelming support,” Requet said Tuesday. “There’s a definite need for this in Oxford.”

Alderman Janice Antonow said since the concept is a new one for Oxford, she wanted to make sure all residents could review the ordinance before the public hearing in two weeks.

“It’s available on the city’s website for review,” said City Attorney Pope Mallette.

To review the proposed food truck ordinance, visit http://www.oxfordms.net/documents/boards/boa/packets/january2016/20160105-10.pdf.