GILBERT, AZ – As food trucks continue to enjoy a surge in popularity in metro Phoenix and across the nation, Gilbert is easing regulations on the mobile vendors while looking to ensure they abide by basic safety standards.
The Gilbert Town Council on Jan. 30 unanimously voted to establish a new mobile vending license for food trucks and other portable businesses after months of study and input from local business owners.
Under the new standards, which become effective Saturday, March 1, food trucks will be released from rules that previously kept them from setting up near parks and schools or using the same location more than one time a week.
The new regulations will address fire safety by requiring trucks without an internal fire-suppression system to maintain a 10-foot buffer zone from any adjacent property line, other truck or combustible material.
Officials began developing the new ordinance after one mobile food vendor in town expressed frustration at confusing direction regarding which permits or licenses were needed to operate legally, Gilbert management intern Justine Bruno said.
Until now, food trucks were able to operate in Gilbert with a special-event permit for those looking to operate once or twice a year at festivals or with a transient merchant license, which officials felt overregulated certain areas while neglecting the need for fire safety.
Gilbert looked to a handful of cities — including Phoenix, Denver, Austin and Raleigh, N.C. — for best practices while drafting the new ordinance, Bruno said.
The town created an external “stakeholders” group that included members of the Small Business Alliance, downtown business owners, Redevelopment Commission members and food-truck owners to receive local input.