New this warm-weather season, the City of Sylvania has adopted an ordinance regulating food trucks. An application must be submitted with documentation and a $100-per-year permit must be purchased.
"The reason for the licensing really is for public safety, and to have the knowledge of where trucks are, so the City will know that they are placed in safe locations," said Timothy Burns, City of Sylvania Zoning Administrator. "We are encouraging and open to all food trucks, and all businesses."
Burns emphasized that the City will give friendly reminders initially, and is not going to look retroactively at companies who may have been unaware of the new ordinance.
"The idea is that we're looking for cooperation," explained Burns, citing the dramatic increase in food trucks within City limits over the past several years.
"The food truck industry has grown significantly and it's likely to continue growing," said Burns. "This is the City's way of addressing it from a safety standpoint and also a financial one."
Burns shared that it was his belief that not all food trucks visiting Sylvania have been paying the required taxes.
"There may have been some that were paying taxes, but I would say most of them probably were not paying taxes," said Burns. "This doesn't change any of the legal tax rules, it just makes them more clear for those doing business in the City of Sylvania."
Documentation required for the food trucks now includes:
A current, written certification that the Mobile Food Vehicle has passed all necessary inspections required by the Sylvania Township Fire Department.
A current, written certification that the Mobile Food Vehicle Operator and the Mobile Food Vehicle have passed all necessary inspections and are in full compliance with the Lucas County Health Department.
A letter of good standing from the City Income Tax Division with respect to the Mobile Food Vehicle operations.
A current certificate of liability insurance listing the City of Sylvania as an Additional Insured and a minimum of $1,000,000 commercial general liability coverage.
"The business that have store fronts pay a lot of money to lease or own those spaces," added Burns. "It's only fair that these businesses coming in have the same requirements to pay taxes and be legitimate."
Burns said that the food truck operators will still be able to choose where they park, and although it was briefly discussed, there are no areas that have been made off-limits. In addition, those food trucks coming to Farmers Markets, festivals, and other occasions will also need to purchase a license.
"Food trucks are almost considered gourmet now," Burns noted. "It's growing, and we're anticipating that the demand is going to continue growing. That's why the City has enacted this ordinance."
Timothy Burns can be reached at the City of Sylvania administration building, 6730 Monroe St., or his office phone number is 419-885-8948.