Planning Commission

Hernando’s Planning Commission moved forward Tuesday night with an ordinance that will help solve some of the murkiness regarding food trucks.

During a regularly scheduled meeting, the Commissioners unanimously voted in favor of an ordinance that will clean up the “grey” rules for food trucks.

Austin Cardosi, director of Planning for the city, said that the new ordinance, which must still be passed by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, is akin to Oxford’s. 

“The current ordinance is pretty comprehensive and in-depth,” he noted. “It allows food trucks a lot of spaces and we’ve amended it to be more of what Hernando wants.” 

The current ordinance will protect existing brick-and-mortar businesses “that have invested in their property.”

Vendors will be able to set up in food truck parks, which are defined as ‘conditional use properties’ in commercial and industrial zones. 

They will also be able to set up at local festivals and at neighborhood events that are sanctioned by the Home Owner’s Association. 

“This is not going to be wide open,” Cardosi. “We want to eliminate food trucks from popping up on Commerce Street.”

Cardosi said that he hopes the ordinance will encourage people to get together and create food truck park areas.

The city defines a food truck as a “permanent established area designed to accommodate up to 10 food trucks and offering food and beverages for sale to the public as the main use of the property and functioning as a single business.” 

All vendors in the food truck park must be issued a sales tax number by the Mississippi Department of Revenue designating them as as a Hernando business. 

The food truck parks are also not to be in “direct competition” with an existing business. 

Vendors must also “secure all necessary approvals from the Department of Health.” 

A plan for bathrooms and public parking is also required.

Applicants must secure a business license through the city’s Planning Department.

Before the meeting, Mayor Chip Johnson stated, “We know people want to be able to access food trucks.”

“The Planning director has been working really hard on it getting something in front of the Planning Commission that they can discuss and then bring it to the full Board of Aldermen,” he added. 

“I like eating at food trucks,” Johnson said. “They don’t really compete against restaurant. When you have a business you worry real hard about competition.”

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