Soldotna drafting new rules for mobile vendors

Sep 11, 2018

 

The boom in food trucks and other mobile vendors has made for some gray areas in city code in Soldotna.
Credit City of Soldotna

The city of Soldotna is tightening down its rules for mobile vendors operating in city limits.

The council will get its first look at an ordinance at its meeting Wednesday night that, among other things, will define what a mobile vendor is and establish fines for violations. John Czarneski, the city’s director of planning and economic development, gave an example of the kind of pop-up vendor who might be affected at a recent planning and zoning commission meeting.

“Someone setting up at the Y with a tent and a table and a sign and operating out of the back of their van for windshield repair. That type of operation isn’t allowed in our code. Our code requires that operations be self-contained.”

Self-containment is one part of the new set of rules, with the goal being to keep business operations neat and orderly and out of public rights of way. Currently, the only recourse for the city in the windshield repair example is to give a ticket for operating without a permit, but, that’s not a permit the city would grant anyway, Czarneski says.

“So we worked with the attorney to come up with some new language to rectify that. And in most cases, when we visit folks, we do have cooperation. In some cases, though, we do have folks that are resistant and it requires having the Soldotna Police Department come talk to them. Then they usually move. And in other cases, they may be repeat offenders. These modifications will give us the ability to work with SPD and, if necessary, write a ticket as a minor offense.”

Most mobile food vendors will be unaffected by the new rules. The ordinance will be introduced this week with a public hearing scheduled for September 26th.