Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 14, 2013

Food trucks would follow transient merchant rules

BY KATHY GIBBONS
kgibbons@record-eagle.com

TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City currently has a transient merchant ordinance that governs mobile retail sales in the city, whether its food or other merchandise.

It's under that ordinance that the city levies fees ranging from $100 a day during peak season downtown to $50 a week outside of the downtown district in the off season, said City Clerk Benjamin Marentette.

The city issues about 200 such permits annually, Marentette said, estimating about 50 percent are for food purveyors.

A mobile food vending ordinance would apply specifically to food trucks, carts and the like.

"Right now you can't park on city property," Marentette said. "That's a key difference between the existing license and mobile food vending license that's currently in draft form right now.

"Mobile food vending currently contemplates vendors being able to set up shop on city property. The discussion right now is where on city property should that vending occur."

Marentette said the city also is looking at instituting an annual license for mobile food vendors, but fees are still under discussion.

The city hopes to have an ordinance finalized by the end of spring so the new structure is in place in time for summer.