Forsyth County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve new rules for food trucks and other temporary businesses during the board’s latest meeting.
The new rules are for food trucks, mobile vendors, seasonal sales and temporary vending and mostly focus on where in the county these businesses are allowed to set up for business.
Discussions about the rules regarding food trucks and other temporary businesses first came up to commissioners within the past year as they spoke with businesses like JJ’s Flower Truck and NoFo Brewing Co.
“It feels like we’re finally starting from scratch on different business models and figuring out how we can make things a lot easier for the customer and be a little less archaic and restrictive in the way that we allow people to create new genres and get in business,” said BOC Chairwoman Laura Semanson.
Under the new rules, food trucks and mobile vendors will be allowed within most of the county’s commercial district with a conditional-use permit, which would have to be obtained by the property owner instead of the mobile business owner. They will also be permitted in mixed-use districts, but a zoning condition amendment will be required.
These mobile venders will not be allowed within residential or agricultural districts, but Jerry Oberholtzer, with Forsyth County's Department of Planning and Community Development, said that there are a few exceptions to the rule.
Food trucks and mobile vendors are allowed in any part of the county if it is part of a government sponsored or special event, agritourism event, HOA-sponsored activity or when they are not open to the public such as when catering an event.
Seasonal sales and temporary vending, which include booths where businesses or individuals can sell merchandise, will also be allowed in most of the commercial district and mixed-used district with a conditional-use permit. These temporary businesses will not be allowed in agricultural or residential districts.
Oberholtzer said that there will be “plenty of exceptions” for nonprofits and places of worship within the county, meaning these organizations will still be able to hold Christmas tree and pumpkin sales during the winter and fall seasons as usual.
There will also be an exception for firework stands. Oberholtzer stressed that the new rules would limit all temporary businesses to one permit per property, per year, meaning that those who sell fireworks may not have been able to set up shop in the same location for both New Years Eve and Independence Day in the same year.
“But we do have exceptions in here for nonprofits, and the state law on firework stands are run by nonprofits,” Oberholter said.
The mobile vendors, seasonal sales and temporary vending will face some supplemental regulations as well, including restrictions on noise and “attention-grabbing activities,” requirements for health and fire approval and restrictions on location.
Businesses primarily run by minors, such as a small lemonade stand, will not be subject to the new rules.