With the permitting required by the state and the municipal codes already in place, mobile vendors don’t need more regulation, vendors told city staff at an mobile vending open house Tuesday.
At the request of Laramie City Council, city planners invited mobile vendors to an open house Tuesday to discuss the possibility of creating a set of ordinances regulating food trucks, food trailers and mobile merchandise vendors.
“We’re trying to get it all in the same place to make it easier on everyone,” Laramie Planning Division Senior Planner Charles Bloom said.
However, On the Hook Fish and Chips Food Truck co-owner Ocean Andrew said he wasn’t convinced the effort was needed.
“It’s not that hard as it is,” Andrew said. “I think people have the idea it’s anarchy out there, but it’s not. We’re already highly regulated by the state.”
Laramie Planning Division Assistant Planner Eric Connor said creating regulations could also increase the safety of the residents, protect the city, protect vendors, eliminate potential conflicts and ensure compatibility with other regulations.
“The council wants to ensure everyone does things right,” Laramie Assistant Manager Dave Derragon said.
No specific safety violation or incident spurred the council’s desire to look into creating more regulations, Derragon said.
After reviewing some of the regulations imposed by other communities including restricting allowable vending times and areas sales could occur, Double Dub’s owner Trent Weitzel said he would be interested in hearing what regulations and permits were required of restaurants by the city.
“We are mobile vendors — we should be allowed to move,” Andrew said.
While restricting vending to certain districts was suggested, Connor said the city was also interested in ensuring mobile vendors didn’t stay in one place too long.
“When something becomes less mobile, it becomes more of a restaurant-type situation,” Bloom said.
Bear Bait Grill owner Norm Frost said while he’s never had a complaint he was open too late, police officers occasionally thank him for providing a location near the bars where intoxicated people can eat something to sober up after closing time.
“If McDonalds can be open 24 hours, I don’t see why we can’t,” Andrew said.
Another topic the planners reviewed with the vendors was limiting the amount of propane a food truck could carry.
“We go up to Denver and they have a cap on propane,” On the Hook Fish and Chips Food Truck co-owner Hunter Andersen said. “The issue with restricting propane is you’re restricting the amount of time we can be out there selling food.”
Andrew said switching propane tanks in the middle of a lunch rush because a city code required small propane tanks was a good way to lose business.
“If I don’t use my 100-pound tanks, my fryers don’t have enough time to heat the chicken up to the temperature required by the health code,” Weitzel said.
Frost said he understood that if the council set its mind to creating regulations, the council would do so regardless the concerns of the vendors.
“What would hurt us the least is permitting the right of way,” Frost said. “We mostly park on private property.”
Many of the regulations proposed by the city — insurance, health inspections, sales tax collection certificates — are already in place at the state level, Weitzel said.
“I had to get my propane tanks and regulators approved by the fire department,” Weitzel said. “I have to have insurance or the state won’t let me sell food.”
After the discussion, Connor said the planning division could have a draft of the proposed regulations ready for public review by Monday with the tentative schedule of having the ordinances in front of the council by mid-June.