The city of Springfield is taking steps to implement official rules and restrictions on food trucks that want to set up shop in the city.
“As food trucks are gaining popularity across cities and counties, we were getting numerous questions about the policies we had in place,” said Assistant to the City Manager, Logan Cobbs.
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The proposed changes were introduced to the Springfield City Commission last week. Prior to the proposal, the city didn’t have regulations that were specific to food trucks.
Cobbs said the proposed regulations include keeping the area around a food truck clean, not disposing of waste water in the storm drains, no loud music and maintaining a 75-foot distance from brick-and-mortar restaurants.
“It can make it a little bit crowded around those different restaurants, and it decreases visibility from the restaurants,” she said.
The city is hopeful that the food truck scene will continue to blossom as it results in increased foot traffic downtown and more business openings.
According to statistics provided by the Clark County Combined Health District, the number of food trucks has increased substantially over the last five years.
In 2015, there were approximately 79 permanent mobile food licenses issued in the county — what someone would need to have to operate a food truck. Although, the health district said, the licenses may not reflect food trucks currently operating in Clark County.
Two years later, that number rose to 106 — and most recently, in 2019, there were 111 licenses issued.
A Springfield favorite, Christian Bros. Meat Company, LLC became a full-time gig for founder Jacob Christian in 2017.
Originally a farmer, Christian never thought he’d end up in the food truck business, but what turned into a hobby of having hog roasts has now become his livelihood.
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“Food trucks for a long time people thought were a trendy thing that would come and go — but they’ve proven successful,” he said.
Christian said one of his favorite things about the food truck is traveling around and telling people they’re from Springfield. He explained that food trucks are just as much about togetherness as they are about food.
“The great part about having a food truck for me is being able to see people,” he said. “To be able to bring people together in the community. Outside of earning a great living — just to be able to look out the windows and see people talking and shaking hands.”
Christian said he can live with the new city regulations on the table, but he would like there to be conversation in the future about how restaurants and food trucks can be together in the same space.
“Through studies — you go to Dayton or Columbus, it actually brings more traffic to your restaurant as a brick-and-mortar but I also understand the footprint and the noise,” he said. “If we have to abide by some rules and learn how to work together with the city and the other business owners, I think we owe that to our customers and the people that work within the city to make sure we do that.”
The city commission is expected to vote on the proposed food truck regulations at the next meeting on Feb. 11.