Licensed, motorized vehicles or mobile food units
Mobile food trucks are permitted on private property in the City of Raleigh provided certain standards are met. Proper zoning must be in place, certain development standards must be met, and appropriate permits must be issued.
A food truck is defined as a "licensed, motorized vehicle or mobile food unit which is temporarily stored on a privately-owned lot where food items are sold to the general public". These food trucks are permitted in several zoning districts: Shopping Center, Neighborhood Business, Business, Thoroughfare District, Industrial-1 and Industrial-2. To locate on a property in one of these zoning districts, the property must have a primary use. An example of a primary use would be a building with an active use, or an improved stand-alone parking lot. An unimproved grass or dirt lot is not a primary use.
On December 4, 2012 the Raleigh City Council approved a text change for food truck regulations.
The text change increases the number of trucks allowed on a lot. The change also allows food trucks within the entirety of the Downtown Overlay District. The changes were proposed after a six-month review of existing food truck regulations where no complaints or enforcement issues have been received. The slight increase in the number of trucks allowed on a lot is not expected to have any impact on existing restaurants or businesses.
Under the new regulations, a maximum of two food trucks are allowed on lots of one-half acre or less, three food trucks are allowed on lots between one-half acre and one acre, and a maximum of four food trucks are allowed on lots greater than one acre but less than two acres.
Exceptions to the process
- Food trucks may conduct sales while parked on a public street when the City Council has approved a temporary street closing for a City-sponsored or neighborhood event such as a street festival/fair
- Food trucks may operate on private property for a maximum of 20 days each calendar year when utilizing a temporary event permit
Are there any prerequisites to the process?
How do I start the process?
1. Determine the Food Truck location: Food trucks must be located at least 100 feet from the front door of any restaurant and outdoor dining area and at least 50 feet from any permitted mobile food vending cart location. Additionally, food trucks must be parked at least 15 feet from any fire hydrant, and 5 feet away from any driveway, sidewalk, utility box or vault, handicapped ramp, building entrance or exit or emergency call box. These minimum distance requirements are all measured in a straight line from the closest point of the proposed food truck location to the closest point from the buffered object, or in the case of a restaurant measured from the closest point of the restaurant's main entrance.
If a zoning permit is issued and a restaurant subsequently opens within 100 feet (measured from restaurant's main entrance) of the approved food truck location, the food truck may continue to operate until the permit expires.
2. Obtain the Required Permits: In addition to a Business License, two permits are required to operate a food truck.
Food Truck Retail Sales Permit for Vendor - The food truck permit ($150.00) would allow operation of the food truck in the City.
Food Truck Zoning Permit for Property Owner - The zoning permit ($78.00) would provide specific information regarding the location of the food truck. The food truck permit must be completed and submitted along with the following information:
- Proof of City Business License
- NC Sales and Use Certificate
- Wake County Vending Permit
- May require the approval of a Home Occupation Permit
The zoning permit must be signed by the property owner, and completed and submitted along with a site plan or plot plan. If a property owner has a property large enough to accommodate more than one food truck, only one zoning permit is required to be submitted showing the location of all food trucks. The plot plan must show the limits of the property, the location(s) of the proposed food truck, and label adjoining uses on neighboring properties. Food trucks must meet certain spacing requirements as listed below, so these adjacent land uses are a necessity.
Once these permits have been issued and the food truck is ready to operate, it is important to remember that a copy of the food truck permit, the zoning permit and plot plan for all sites of which the food truck has received owner approval for vending must be kept on the food truck at all times. These permits must each be renewed annually on July 1st.
3. Contact City of Raleigh Zoning Technician Martha Lobo, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 919-278-6209 to obtain information.
What do I need to submit to the City?
|STANDARD SUBMITTAL PACKAGE|
|Required for Submittal||Retail Sales-Food Truck Vendor Permit:
City of Raleigh Business License
Food Truck Permit for Property Owner:
Additional requirements for Food Truck Operators
1. Parking: Food trucks may not occupy any required parking stall for the primary use while the primary use is open to the public. Food trucks and the primary use may share parking spaces when having separate hours of operation. Parking stalls that are overflow or extra according to the regulations in the Zoning Code may be used to park a food truck; however, parking stalls leased to another business or adjacent use may not be used unless the food truck is operating under separate hours of operation. Food trucks may not park in handicapped accessible parking spaces, nor can they park in access or drive aisles. The approved location for the parking trucks, as shown on the zoning permit, must be physically marked. The food truck parking space can be marked with paint, tape or any other easily identifiable material. Food trucks may not be parked in an approved location after hours of operation. (graphic of a parking stall with marked spots)
2. Hours of Operation: Food trucks may operate between the hours of 6 a.m. and 3 a.m., unless the food truck is located within 150 feet of a property with a single or two-family residential dwelling. When located within 150 feet of this residential dwelling, the hours of operation shall be between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. This measurement is taken from the property line of the residential dwelling in a straight line to the closest point of the approved food truck location.
What is prohibited and may result in a violation?
Prohibitions: Food trucks may not use audio amplification or free standing signage. All equipment associated with the food truck must be located within 3 feet of the food truck. The food truck operator is responsible for disposing of all trash associated with the operation of the food truck. City trash receptacles may not be used to dispose trash or waste. All areas within 5 feet of the food truck must be kept clean. Grease and liquid waste may not be disposed in tree pits, storm drains, the sanitary sewer system or public streets. Food trucks are all subject to the city-wide noise ordinance (Sec. 12-5007(c).Sec 12-5008). Sound absorbing devices may be used to contain or deflect the noise from external generators.
Violation of Ordinance: If the food truck operator or property owner is found to be in violation of the Zoning Ordinance, a fine will be issued. For the first offense, a $100 fine will be issued; for the second offense a $300 fine will be issued; the permit will be revoked upon the third violation. (Sec. 12-5011)
Where can I find more detailed information?
Where do I submit my application?
What are the keys to success?
- Be familiar with the Food Truck Ordinance and rules of operation (i.e. locations, times, etc.)
- Complete submittal package to include required documentation
What fees are involved and when do I pay them?
- Retail Sales - Food Truck Vendor -$150.00
- Food Truck Zoning Permit for Property Owner - $78.00
- Permit fees are paid after permit approval during issuance.
How long will the process take?
- Retail Sales - Food Truck Vendor Permit takes approximately one (1) business day
- Food Truck Zoning Permit for Property Owner takes approximately three (3) business days