2018 Bills

Fixing the Food Truck Fiasco


Last year, Senator Deidre Henderson helped pass legislation we proposed to streamline the market for food trucks, reducing onerous regulations that cities around the state were making these entrepreneurs navigate. That bill passed with only one dissenting vote—a senator who represents a city whose mayor wanted to continue their complete ban on food trucks.

Since that time, many cities have been causing headaches for food truck owners. Three new cities started banning food trucks. One city told a food truck owner that they couldn’t operate for more than three days a week on private property. Some cities charged monthly fees or a fee per employee.

What has been particularly frustrating is the defiance of many cities to last year’s law on the issue of fees. The law clearly states that cities and counties must “reduce the amount of the business licensing fee to an amount that accounts for the lower administrative burden,” but many have stubbornly refused to reduce the prices for an administrative task that takes well under an hour. Here are some examples:

  • Centerville does not charge a food truck business license, but they do charge a $250 temporary use fee
  • Clinton charges over $200 as a conditional use fee
  • Hurricane charges $75 fee for a reciprocal license
  • Kaysville makes food truck owners from other cities $215 fee (plus a $100 bond)
  • Murray imposes a $110 reciprocal license fee
  • Ogden charges $100 and makes truck owners renew every 90 days
  • Sandy requires a $110 fee

These astronomical costs quickly add up, as food trucks are mobile and often travel from one city to another along the clustered Wasatch Front, having to pay heavy fees for a government permission slip in each city (unlike other traveling professionals).

So we proposed additional legislation this year, again sponsored by Sen. Henderson, designed to tighten the screws and remedy many of these issues.  Senate Bill 167 passed through the entire legislature, once again with only one dissenting vote.

As we have worked on this issue over the past two years, we have met directly with dozens of food truck owners who express profound gratitude for this legislation, helping reduce the regulatory burden and eliminate duplicative inspections and fees that substantially threaten to undermine their businesses. (Profit margins on food are notoriously thin.)

We are grateful the Legislature has consistently agreed to free up the market for food trucks. We will be in communication with these entrepreneurs throughout the year to monitor the situation and identify further issues that may need additional legal remedies.

  • K. Aikau

    What I didn’t read in your article that I would like to know, are there consequences for cities that are not following legislation? What were the highlights of the new legislation that passed? Did the new legislation solve the problems that you highlighted in your article, and if so how?

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