Detroit Expands Food Truck Operations Across City

Under a new ordinance, the city of Detroit has outlined rules and guidelines for food truck vendors who want the opportunity to expand their business.
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Food truck serving up burgers.
The City of Detroit has outlined new rules and guidelines for food truck vendors to expand their businesses within the city. // Stock Photo

Under a new ordinance, the city of Detroit has outlined rules and guidelines for food truck vendors who want the opportunity to expand their business.

The city’s Building Safety, Engineering, and Environmental Department (BSEED) states it has streamlined the permitting and licensing process for food truck operators with rules, guidelines, and contact information. More information is available at www.detroitmi.gov/foodtruck.

In addition, the new ordinance creates 14 restricted commercial zones food truck vendors are prohibited from operating in.

“It’s exciting to offer our small business vendors this opportunity for success,” said Dave Bell, director of BSEED. “However, it’s an interdepartmental effort to ensure we all have success at the end of the day.”

Under the new rules, food trucks in the downtown Central Business district and the Midtown Cultural Center area can only legally operate in four (4) food zones. Food trucks in these zones can only operate on streets where on-street parking is allowed.
In the event a parking space is metered, the food truck will be required to pay parking meter fees for the time they are parked. Food trucks are not allowed in any other part of the greater downtown and Midtown areas.

Food vendors will have two zones in the Central Business District:

  • Zone 1 is bordered by Bagley, Cass, Howard, and Third
  • Zone 2 is bordered by Jefferson, Rivard, Atwater, and Beaubien

The two designated zones in the Midtown/Cultural Center are:

  • Zone 3 is bordered by Hendrie, Brush, Palmer, and John R
  • Zone 4 is bordered by Warren, Brush, Forest, and John R

Food trucks may vend outside of the Central Business and Cultural Center areas along commercial corridors unless a corridor is specifically identified as one where food trucks are not allowed. Food trucks cannot operate on any residential street in the city.

Across the city, food trucks may only operate where on-street parking is allowed. In the event that the parking space is metered, the food truck will be required to pay parking meter fees for the time they are parked.

All other public right of ways are now open for great eats in Detroit streets except for those within 200 feet of a restaurant, K-12 school, or sports arena as well as the following restricted commercial corridors:

Courtesy of the City of Detroit
Courtesy of the City of Detroit
Courtesy of the City of Detroit
Courtesy of the City of Detroit

General Rules

  1. Street vendors are NOT allowed to vend between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. and must have left their vending location by 12 a.m. (Sec. 34-1-5(i)(2).
  2. Street vendors cannot engage in sales within 200 feet of the doorway of a business that sells the same goods without written consent (Sec. 34-1-5(c)).
  3. Street vendors cannot vend within 200 feet of a K-12 property. (Sec. 34-1-9(a)).
  4. Street vendors cannot vend within 200 feet of any sports arena or stadium without written consent (Sec. 34-1-9(c)).
  5. Street vendors have a limit of 4 people working at one time (a person with the vendor’s license and three licensed helpers). (Sec. 34-1-25(d)).
  6. Street vendors must have a refuse container with a tight fighting lid which must be removed daily by the vendor. (Sec. 34-1-18(a)).
  7. Street vendors must obey all other provisions of the Code. (Sec. 34-1-5(h)).
Courtesy of the City of Detroit
Courtesy of the City of Detroit

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