At their regular meeting Tuesday, August 4, Gulfport City Council voted on the fate of mobile food trucks.
On July 21, council discussed adopting and adapting Florida’s HB 1193, Deregulation of Professions and Occupations, and the possibility of allowing MFVs to operate regularly within city limits – not just for special events.
The new Florida statute says that cities must allow food trucks without additional licensing, registrations, permits or fees. However, the city can control the location and hours of operation for vendors. It looks like the Gulfport will do just that.
Gulfport City Ordinance No. 2020-08 reviews Florida’s newest statute with a few adjustments – but that doesn’t mean Gulfport’s streets are now fair game for food vendors.
“It was agreed on by all councilmembers that mobile food vendors, who are selling to the general public, will not be allowed to operate on public property, only on properly zoned private property,” said City Manager Jim O’Reilly at the July 21 meeting.
During the August 4 meeting, a resident submitted 10 pages of survey questions from local businesses. The surveys were not read aloud due to privacy concerns.
“The people listed on the documents did not give permission to have their names read during public,” stated May Sam Henderson.
“I think the restrictions are a bit severe,” said Councilmember April Thanos. “I personally wouldn’t mind seeing them in areas outside of Beach, Shore and Gulfport Boulevard. I think that would be OK.”
“We don’t want to see people setting up in front of people’s personal property,” responded Councilmember Paul Ray. “I wouldn’t want one set up in front of me.”
Any mobile food vendor who wants to set up on city property will still have to apply and have city council approve a special event permit. To avoid the additional permitting, MFV can now set up on private property zoned for commercial business.
More information and details on MFV guidelines to include operating protocols, can be found on the city’s website.