Paramount adopts regulations for food trucks

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By Arnold Adler

Contributing Writer

PARAMOUNT — New citywide regulations on food and ice cream vending vehicles received tentative approval by City Council Sept. 1 and are set for final action Oct. 6, a city clerk spokesperson said.

Reason for the one-month time element is to give residents a chance to become familiar with the law, the spokesperson explained.

The ordinance, for the first time, allows food-selling vehicles to stop and do business on public streets, in compliance with state laws, but outlines local restrictions, which include hours of operation, which are8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and not more than two hours at a location on a public street.

Also vehicles must be at least 500 feet from an intersection with traffic lights and 500 feet from a bus stop, Planning Director John Carver said in a written report to the council.

Selling from a food vending vehicle is also prohibited on a public roadway within 500 feet of any school property boundary between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on regular school days.

Carver said that while food vending vehicles cannot be banned from operating on public streets under recent state law, cities can enact health and safety regulations, such as requiring a permit to sell food from the Los Angeles County Health Department.

Operators of food vending vehicles may not place tables, chairs or other equipment on a public right-of-way, but must provide a trash receptacle. Operators also must clean an area before leaving.

Ice cream trucks are also covered.

“Sales from ice cream trucks shall be limited to the hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or one-half hour after sunset, whichever occurs first,” Carver’s report said. “Ice cream truck sales shall be limited to public roadways with a speed limit less than 25 miles per hour.

No sales shall be made while an ice cream truck is parked within 75 feet of any intersection. No sales shall be made from an ice cream truck that is within 200 feet of another ice cream truck which has already stopped to vend.

A street must have sufficient width to allow other vehicles to pass safely while the ice cream truck is stopped and noise from an ice cream truck must comply with the city’s noise ordinance.

“The new law also updates sales on private property, first approved some 25 years ago.

Under the 1996 law, food vending vehicles may operate on private property with a city permit but may do so for only two hours twice a day between noon and 9 p.m. and with written permission from the property owner.

Sidewalk vendors also are included in the new law, Carver said.

“The new Paramount regulations further clarify time, place, and manner for vendors to sell merchandise and food in the public right-of way.

“As mobile food trucks have become more commonplace in public and private areas, it is important to establish regulations that balance consumer choices with public health, safety and general welfare of the Paramount community,” said Carver in his report to council.

“Mobile food trucks are also recognized as a creative start-up or incubator for business owners (sometimes trained chefs) who lack the financial capital or experience to immediately open a traditional fixed-location restaurant,” Carver said.

Violations are punishable by administrative fines and citations. An administrative fine of $100 will be levied for a first violation, $200 for a second violation within one year of the first violation and $500 for each additional violation within one year of the first violation.

Vending without a business license issued by the city is punishable by an administrative fine of  $250 for a first violation, $500 for a second violation within one year of the first violation and $1,000 for each additional violation within one year of the first violation.

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