Brownstown Town Council makes changes to mobile food vendor ordinance proposal


After hearing from one vendor and talking to others, the Brownstown Town Council continues to adjust the wording of a proposed mobile food vendor ordinance.

The first draft of the ordinance says mobile food vehicles may be open to the public between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. and can’t be parked on a public street or parking lot overnight, but Councilwoman Sharon Koch suggested removing both of those restrictions.

She also said a permit shouldn’t be required to set up on private property for a private event. If approved, the ordinance would only apply to mobile food vehicles used to store, prepare, display or serve food or beverages on public property. That includes vehicles that are generally self-contained, movable, wheeled, towed, motorized or nonmotorized.

This does not apply to anyone selling fruits, vegetables or farm products grown themselves or other homemade products; a business or merchant making delivery of food previously ordered by a customer; or anyone selling food as part of a town-approved special event or festival.

Councilman Tim Robinson initially suggested a $150 annual permit since that’s what nearby Seymour charges, saying even though the town is smaller population-wise, the same work would go into it in terms of checking the vendor’s proof insurance, certificates and inspections.

“After listening to Toby Calhoun and others, that may be a little bit out of line,” Robinson said.

During a meeting April 19, Calhoun, who operates the Junkyard BBQ and Ice Cream food truck with his wife, Tiffani, told the council $150 a year is pretty extreme based on the population of Brownstown and what the vendors are getting in that cost. Calhoun, however, said it’s good to have a fee to ensure the vendors are licensed retail merchants.

“I’m very glad that he came here because we got to see it from his view, and he 100% supports a fee. He just thinks the fee we initially discussed was a little high,” Robinson said.

Robinson also wanted to be clear on the purpose of the fee.

“The biggest part for me is to make sure that the truck is serving safe food, make sure that they have their insurance, they have their ServSafe,” Koch said. “We want our residents safe.”

Robinson agreed with the importance of liability insurance.

Town attorney Travis Thompson said the purpose of a permit is to cover the administrative and enforcement fees.

Taking everything into consideration, Robinson suggested lowering the fee to $125 but leaving the ordinance violation at $150 for the first offense, $300 for the second offense, $450 for the third offense and $450 and license revoked for one calendar year after a fourth offense.

The council also proposed starting the permits in January 2022 since the year is nearly halfway over and it would take public hearings and three readings to be approved for the ordinance to go into effect.

Thompson said he would make the proposed changes to the ordinance for the council to review and consider for first reading at an upcoming meeting. The council meets at 6 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month at the town hall.

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What: Brownstown Town Council meeting

When: 6 p.m. Monday

Where: Brownstown Town Hall, 116 E. Cross St.

Who: Open to the public and press