The City of Bellingham has decided to loosen the rules when it comes to where food trucks can park.
In a news release, city staff announced a new ordinance and a guide for sidewalk-related commerce. Food trucks can now apply for permits to sell products in public parking spaces, provided they get the support of nearby businesses. This includes the ability to reserve an already-permitted space outside city hall.
Previously, food trucks were only permitted on private property or at specific permitted events.
Owners of food trucks will decide where they want to go, but one option that might be popular is food trucks using parking spaces near downtown bars that don’t serve food, said Darby Cowles, a senior planner for the city. Another option could be parking a food truck near a city park, but it would need to comply with the zoning rules of that area.
Cowles said each application will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, with some areas coming with special conditions. For example, if the spot is within 50 feet of an established business, the food truck owner would need to get support from that business. The food truck owner would also need to notify businesses on the rest of the block of their plans. A list of rules is on the temporary right-of-way use permit on the city’s website.
The goal of the changes is to make urban areas more fun for residents while also being safe, Cowles said in an interview with The Bellingham Herald. It also gives the city the ability to find some creative uses for underutilized parking spaces in the city.
“Creating smart, flexible permitting for food trucks will finally allow for the vibrant street vending scene we know people want to see downtown,” said Mason Luvera, communications director for the Downtown Bellingham Partnership in the news release. “We have amazing food trucks and vendors in Bellingham and we receive constant requests to see more of them downtown.”