Ann Arbor’s City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that provides guidelines for food trucks on Monday, June 3. The ordinance takes effect on Thursday, June 13, and may pave the way for more food trucks in the city.
Until now, Ann Arbor — like many municipalities throughout the country — had no rules specifically regulating food trucks in the city. The lack of laws around mobile restaurant operations lead to confusion and significant limits for business owners desiring to operate year round. In the past, the city only granted permits for food trucks operating on a property that already sold food and the permits expired after 180 days.
Last fall, the city presented a draft proposal for public discussion in an effort to streamline food truck vendor regulations. That original proposal included language that would have required food trucks to operate 200 feet away from residential areas. While many residents and businesses welcomed regulations on food trucks, the limitations on where trucks could park raised concerns as it drastically limited the areas where businesses could operate.
The city appears to have taken those concerns to heart. Under the newly approved ordinance, food trucks are now permitted to operate on mixed-use and non-residential properties, but not residential areas. However, the updated language only requires that trucks remain 10 feet away from residential properties. The city also eliminated the 180-day expiration on permits, allowing food truck owners to run their businesses for more days throughout the year. That assumes, of course, that owners and patrons are willing to brave cold Michigan winters.