After months of discussion and modifications, a compromise that will lessen the financial impact of controversial mobile vendor fees appears to have been reached.
Last month, Jersey City’s council voted 9-0 to introduce a new ordinance that will spell out their procedures and policies for food trucks. A final vote on the matter is scheduled to take place during their Thursday meeting and a significant political saga could meet its conclusion if the law is approved.
Controversy broke out last year when the council passed a food truck ordinance that created three new sections for mobile vendors to set up shop. The regulations looked to charge vendors $40 a day to park on Sussex Street and $200 daily to operate in an area called Zone 1 along Montgomery Street, a significant increase that caused many business owners to cry foul.
The new parking zone rules took effect in October last year but per our reporting, the city suspended the permit fees portion. The Jersey Journal reported on plans to fix the food truck ordinance earlier this year, but the legislation had remained in limbo.
The council’s new proposed ordinance scales back the fees significantly and calls for the creation of 42 assigned spaces for mobile vendors. 15 of those spaces will be in Zone 1, which includes Columbus Drive from Hudson Street to Marin Boulevard, Montgomery Street from Hudson to Greene streets, and a block of Sussex Street next to Hudson Street.
Fees in Zone 1 will be paid by vendors monthly and will run $11,000 per year, or about $30/day. Mobile vendor parking in Zone 2, which includes 27 spaces along roads including West Side Avenue, Berry Lane, and Summit Avenue, will cost $4/day. If a food truck does not pay their fees within 45 days, the city can revoke their Mobile Food Vendor Parking Permit and reassign their space.
The new ordinance dictates the city will determine the specific parking spot within Zone 1 assigned to each approved truck, taking preferences and feedback from the surrounding neighborhoods and special improvement districts into consideration. All food trucks can operate daily between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., although trucks along Columbus Drive can operate until 11:00 p.m. and vendors parked in the vicinity of NJCU can open as early as 6:00 a.m.
The city council is scheduled to weigh in on the latest food truck ordinance at their September 10 meeting, which is being held virtually and begins at 6 p.m. The meeting, being run through Microsoft Teams, can be accessed at this link.
UPDATE: During their September 10 meeting, the City Council pushed the final vote on the new food truck ordinance to their September 23 session. They additionally announced that should the ordinance pass, all mobile vendor fees will be suspended until 90 days after the Governor’s Office rescinds State of Emergency declarations related to COVID-19.