COEUR D’ALENE, ID “If a guy comes and wants to sell hot dogs and asks us what the rules and regulations are, there aren’t any,” says Coeur d’Alene city council member Dan Gookin.
Gookin says it was only after seeing someone selling knives next to a school that he realized the city can do nothing about mobile vendors. There is no ordinance governing them and that is something he’s hoping to change.
“There’s a price of doing business in the city, unless you’re a mobile merchant,” says Gookin.
The city is hosting a public workshop on October 1st to discuss the possibility of an ordinance that would regulate mobile vendors, for reasons Gookin says is simple public safety but also fairness.
“At the end of the season these guys just pull up their stakes and then they’re gone, but the brick and mortar guys are still here, they’re fighting for that business,” says Gookin.
But many mobile food vendors are concerned about what further regulations mean. Heather Riviere who owns a food truck says she is already required to meet the same requirements that a brick and mortar restaurant meets; such as kitchen specifications, a food handlers license, and a license through the Panhandle Health District.
“We always have inspectors coming through making sure we’re up to code,” says Riviere.
Some of the differences between restaurants and food vendors, that Gookin would like to see changed are the extra costs that restaurants take on like water and sewage fees. But Riviere says food vendors take on similar costs when it comes to setting up shop, whether it be through a city permit or private landowner, and that’s where she feels all food vendors will get hit with extra fees.
“I’ll probably have to get a permit for where I am now, and then they can say ‘no we’re not going to give it to you because there’s a restaurant fifty feet away,'” says Riviere.
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