Food trucks allowed to operate in Norris

But with some restrictions

Food trucks and associated mobile food vendors are now allowed to operate within the city of Norris, thanks to an ordinance given final approval by the City Council on Monday night (Nov. 14).

The ordinance, however, makes major distinctions between food trucks operating on private property upon invitation from the property owners, and those operating on public property, usually in conjunction with a special event sponsored or sanctioned by the city government.

Vendors setting up on private property are limited to a total of 72 hours per month per vehicle, and must pay a $50-a-month license fee to the city.

Those limitations do not apply to vendors invited to attend city sponsored or sanctioned events on public property.

All vendors must have business licenses as required by the state of Tennessee, along with commissary licenses.

They also must operate in accordance with state Health Department rules, including using only specially designed vehicles approved by the state.

The ordinance does not allow cooking to take place while the vehicle is in motion.

No sound-amplifying devices are allowed on the outside of the vehicle.

Also, no detached signs are allowed, either, and each vendor is required to provide for the sanitary collection and disposal of all waste from the vehicle, including gray water and fryer oil.

The vendors setting up on private property also will be limited to the C-1 (Central Business District), C-2 (Tennessee Highway 61 Business District), and S-1 (Scenic Highway) zones as defined in the city’s zoning ordinances.

Norris’ Community Development Board wrote the draft ordinance for the food trucks after being asked to by former City Manager Scott Hackler, said Councilman Will Grinder, who also leads the development board.

Some changes to the draft were made by the City Council, including the $50 monthly fee – changed Monday night from the $50 per year fee that was in the proposed ordinance when it was approved two weeks ago on first reading.

“It’s going to make it a little bit hard for food trucks to come in,” Grinder said of the new ordinance Tuesday morning. “I don’t think Norris wants to have all kinds of food trucks wherever and whenever. Some control and regulation make sense.”

Before the ordinance passed Monday, food trucks were not allowed to set up in Norris.

But a new business in the Anderson Crossing shopping center on Andersonville Highway, The Dam Bar, had been hosting a food truck for several days each week since it opened in early October, in violation of the city’s ordinances, council members were told during a special meeting two weeks ago.

The new ordinance now permits the food trucks at that location, with the restrictions.