Birmingham food truck ordinance

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The Birmingham food truck ordinance is a city ordinance, amending Title 12 ("Licensing and Regulation"), Chapter 14 ("Peddlers and Solicitors") of the Birmingham General City Code of 1980, to regulate food trucks and pushcarts operating within the city limits.

The ordinance was recommended by Johnathan Austin based on complaints from brick-and-mortar restaurateurs and drafted by acting city attorney Thomas Bentley. The Greater Birmingham Street Food Coalition formed in 2012 to oppose what they perceived as excessive restrictions. After being amended and tabled several times, the ordinance passed on December 17, 2013 by an 8-0 vote.

The ordinance requires mobile food vendors to obtain a permit to operate on rights-of-way in the city limits, with a costlier "premier" permit to do business in the City Center (between 18th and 22nd Streets and between 8th Avenue North and 10th Avenue South. Food trucks are required to maintain a 150-foot buffer from other restaurants, and their business hours are limited to between 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM, except for special events. Ice cream trucks are exempted from the ordinance, unless they operate from "food zones" as defined in the ordinance or park in one place for more than 30 minutes.

Food truck operators are required to submit detailed equipment specifications, including the noise output of electric power generators; certify that they have not been convicted of deceptive business practices within the last ten years; and carry liability insurance of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.

A Birmingham Mobile Food Vendors Committee was created to review permit applications, determine rotating zones of operation for individual permit holders, and hear complaints. Vendors operating on private property are not subject to the restrictions for operating in rights-of-way, but are required to supply photographs and layout drawing of the site, written permission from the Zoning Division of the Birmingham Department of Planning, Engineering and Permits, and an executed lease or letter of consent from the property owner.

The Council amended the ordinance in July 2014 to ease requirements for groups offering food to the homeless. Those groups are no longer required to obtain the same permits as vendors, but must still be permitted by the Jefferson County Health Department, must restrict activities to designated zones, and must oversee clean-up of food-related trash after each event.

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