After 45 years, Denison food truck ordinance gets a revamp

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Brad Wells serves a hot dog to Joyce Ashley at the grand opening of Denison's new food truck park in 2018. The city approved a series of updates to its ordinance regard food trucks on Monday.

For the first time in more than 45 years, Denison is significantly updating its regulations and ordinances regarding food trucks and vendors. The City Council unanimously voted Monday to approve two sets of changes this week.

Denison has seen an increase in food truck options in recent years. The first dedicated food truck park opened for business in downtown in 2018. Jake's Place, a second food truck park opened last year on Texoma Parkway in the parking lot of what was once Calhoun's night club. Other parks and similar developments have been proposed over the years.

"Basically, the market has shifted to where mobile vendors have become more and more prominent, and there is a lot more interest in them, especially in Denison in the last few years," Denison Senior Planner Bill Medina said.

The city's food truck ordinance was initially passed in 1965 and was only slightly amended in 2013.

The ordinance changes set requirements for these operations, along with definitions of types of food trucks. The ordinances break food trucks into three categories including unrestricted, restricted and limited. Unlimited  allows for cooking, wrapping, and portioned on site while restricted allows for the sale of pre-wrapped or packaged items.

The limited category includes things that do not fall under the other categories and represents packaged foods items that would be the least threat of food-borne illness. This category includes ice cream trucks and vendors selling frozen steaks and meats.

The ordinance also adds requirements for vehicle condition and maintenance along with operational guidance. The fire department will also now oversee inspections and annual testing.

The city was required to update its zoning code for these changes to outline where these operations can take place. A regular food vendor permit will be required to serve in office, commercial, local retail and light and heavy industrial zones. A conditional use permit will be required to setup in central business and downtown districts.

This appears to primarily apply to stationary or long-term placement of food trucks. City Clerk Chris Wallentine said the city will need to update its Special Events Ordinance to include details on single-day events and festivals that would not be required to have a conditional use permit.