LYNN HAVEN, Fla. — Food truck owners from around the area were in Lynn Haven on Tuesday night to discuss a new proposed food truck ordinance for the city.
The proposal got a lot of attention on social media after one food truck owner shared it, saying that it would make having a food truck in Lynn Haven nearly impossible.
On Tuesday, several food truck owners and residents came to the city commission meeting to voice their concerns.
“It was going to be just way too restricting for all of us,” said Tracey Strachan, owner of “Sharp Curbside Bistro.”
Liz Cherrigton, owner of “Crepe and Cream,” agreed.
“The permit fees alone, we would never have been able to afford it,” she said.
Those fees amounted to more than $1650 per year, including a mandatory fire safety inspection that food truck owners say is already completed at a state-level.
According to officials, in Panama City, there’s an annual fee of fifty dollars and in incorporated Bay County there is a parking lot permit for fifty dollars which is good to use for 7 days within a total 30 days period.
Panama City Beach does not allow food trucks unless there is a special event, in which case the food truck pays the city a one percent gross business tax, which is charged on any sale inside the city.
Heading into Tuesday night’s meeting, several owners agreed that Lynn Haven’s proposed ordinance was severely restrictive both financially and physically, especially for start-up food trucks.
“The first draft came off as if they didn’t want food trucks in the area,” said Sarah Gramlick, owner of “I Roll Lumpia.”
The draft of the ordinance was originally shared online by Mike Lovrekovic, owner of “The Prime Rib Guy.”
“It was a post that blew up,” said Lovrekovic. “Last time I looked at it I think there were over 22 thousand people that looked at it.”
He said he’s glad it got the attention, which led to several food truck owners speaking out at the commission meeting. They all said the proposed fees and limitations on the food trucks would be way too much.
“It was very restrictive, very restricted against having food trucks,” said Frank Repici, with “Gelato Love.”
Commissioners agreed, saying the proposal needs to be scaled back quite a bit. After the meeting, both business owners and commissioners said they felt like they were on the same page.
“The city government listened to what we had to say,” said Lovrekovic. “They turned this deal into a positive deal, so they have done some homework and it looks like we’re going to be able to move forward with this in a very simplistic ordinance.”
He and others said they hope to see the lengthy document reduced to a page or two with much simpler requirements.
That draft will be reviewed at the next Lynn Haven City Commission meeting in two weeks.