The Lebanon City Council on Wednesday night unanimously approved an ordinance regulating food truck pods within the city limits.
The ordinance will go into effect in 30 days and pods could begin operation soon after.
The issue was first brought to the council's attention at its August session. At that time, Community Development Director Kelly Hart told the council that two separate people had spoken with the development office about the possibility of creating food truck pods in downtown Lebanon.
The city has regulations in place for individual food trucks but no ordinance governing multiple trucks operating at the same location. The council directed Hart to craft an ordinance governing food pods and to bring it back for consideration. The council indicated that it was interested in a basic set of rules governing public health and safety.
The ordinance approved Wednesday allows food pods to be located in the central business and highway commercial zones, subject to an administrative review. Pods will also be allowed in both the mixed use and industrial zones, with a conditional use permit required for these applications.
The ordinance requires food pods to:
• Provide paved designated walkways.
• Allow enough space for transactions to be completed on-site and not in the public right of way.
• Maintain at least six feet of separation between trucks.
• Screen equipment, storage and waste receptacles from the right of way.
• Install appropriate lighting for customer safety.
• Provide a minimum of two parking spaces per food truck, if parking requirements apply within the zone.
Hart said that both of the tentatively proposed food pods would be located within the downtown core, where parking requirements do not apply.
In addition, if the food pod offers seating, then restroom facilities must be provided either on-site or within close proximity (approximately 200 feet). Councilor Karin Stauder asked if this applied to tall tables or counters intended for standing customers.
Hart said it did not.
"This restroom requirement is only triggered if a seating area is provided and it's triggered because the business is now providing the opportunity and encouraging their patrons to stay on site for longer periods of time which means you should be providing those facilities associated with a regular restaurant," Hart said.
The ordinance also makes one change to existing rules for single food trucks. These trucks have been required to reapply for temporary use permits every six months. These permits will now be valid for one year.