NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Food trucks and sidewalk vendors will have to pay a new fee but will for the first time be assured of a set place to meet their regular shipyard and downtown customers.

The city council approved new regulations that seek to end the practice of people parking their trucks for long periods on Washington Avenue outside Newport News Shipbuilding’s gates, and to make sure nobody is selling food without getting the health department permits showing they’ve passed sanitation inspections.

But the change comes with a price: a $500 annual permit fee for truck vendors and $150 fee for sidewalk vendors.

The new regulations also require food truck sellers have city business licenses and health department permits, and increases the amount of insurance street and sidewalk vendors must carry to $1 million per incident from $100,000 now.

They also limit vendors to operating within a district bounded by 50th Street, Washington Avenue and 23rd Street. Vendors could operate elsewhere only if they are not on streets or sidewalks, or if they have a special events permit.

Violating the new regulations — for instance, by operating a food truck in someone else’s spot or by not bothering to get a permit — would be a class 2 misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The city manager would determine how many permits to issue.

Only one vendor, Casey Haas, who operates on Tuesdays and Thursdays during lunchtimes at 28th Street and Washington Avenue, raised concerns, saying he worried that the permit would require five-day a week operation, as Norfolk does. City Manager James M. Bourey said that was not the intention, adding that the permit was intended to assure a spot but not to require it to be used all the time.

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